in February 2001
name Osmiroid International is quite a recent name for a Company whose
roots go back to the early part of the nineteenth Century.
started with James Perry who was an educationalist in advance of his
time. He lectured throughout the country on his method, based on what
seems to have been a revolutionary idea then, that the pupil's interest
be aroused in order to pursue their studies with enthusiasm. In order
to test his theories, he ran two private schools, one for each sex,
in London, where it can be assumed that the making and mending of
quill pens was burdensome and time consuming and where a pupil remembered
the tedious waiting for the patient usher, who passed from desk
to desk with his penknife, mending pens, and paying little attention
to anything else.
doubt this irked the energetic and methodical James, who invented
a method of slitting a metal pen to give flexibility and ink flow.
Metal pens of sorts had been in use since very early times, but won
no popularity on account of their rigidity. While James did not patent
the perfected nib until 1830, in the reign of George IV, pens made
under his directions were in use as early as 1824, while it is recorded
in 1819 he was giving metallic nibs of his design as rewards of merit
in his schools.
must be remembered that this was the age of the Scribe, in business,
in the Law and in Schools. The typewriter was yet to come, and men
spent their lives working for long hours, six days a week copying
documents. The custom was that Law Scribes were allowed one quill
per day, and a day's writing wore out the longest quill, so it can
be imagined how much time was spent in trimming and mending and the
difference the metal nibs must have made. One Robert Griffin, a Law
Scribe, records that he wrote for eight weeks, eight hours a day,
with a pen made by Perry, in 1824.
that same year, James was joined by his brother Stephen in starting
a business in pen-making and pens were made for this, the first in
Manchester, Birmingham and London. In 1828, Josiah Mason, was
manufacturing pens for Perry & Co. and joined the Company. The
excellence of their products swiftly raised them to the forefront
of the new industry, exporting pens all over the world. By 1876 when
the firm became a Limited Company, they equalled Esterbrook
as being the largest manufacturers of pen nibs in the world.
Perry died without issue and Stephen was succeeded by his sons John
and Lewis. The former became Managing Director and then Chairman.
In the course of time, Edmund, the second son of John became Joint
Managing Director under his father's Chairmanship, a position he held
until 1918. By this time the Company had diversified extensively,
making not only carbon steel pens, pencils, rubber bands etc. but
also bicycle accessories and light cars. Even today vintage Perry
cars are still to be seen.
the death of his father, Edmund decided to leave the Company and to
manufacture pens in North London, which he did very successfully working
on the techniques of stainless steel pens which were perfected under
his direction. E.S.Perry, the Company he founded in 1918 was incorporated
in 1921 and continued in North London until the outbreak of the second
World War, when pen making ceased for the duration and
the Company made armament components.
1944 Edmund died and his widow and a daughter were appointed to the
Board, as his sons James and Michael were still on active service.
On their return they both joined the Board and Mrs Perry retired.
the coming of Peace, the demand for what were now called dip
nibs was enormous and Iridinoid and Osmiroid
nibs were exported all over the world. However it became obvious that
the future of the Company lay with making fountain pens. Between 1948
when a pilot factory was built, and 1953, the Factory was moved to
Gosport to obtain much needed room for expansion and better working
conditions. The Osmiroid 65 fountain pen was developed,
chiefly for school children whose special needs for writing instruments
had always been a matter of prime concern. A large range of nib units
were made to suit right and left handed users and the several types
of handwriting being taught, particular attention being paid to the
Italic style. This pen was followed by the 75, Slimline and others.
Components for lifebelts, computers and other such articles were also
1949 Miss Francesca Perry was elected Chairman and later Michael Perry
was appointed Managing Director succeeded by Geoffrey Nockolds in
1965. During 1971 the Company embarked upon the production of a range
of teaching aids, following the traditions of the Company's founder
150 years before. These met with great success in the U.K., Australia,
America and the Far East.
1987 the Osmiroid brand had become so established and well known that
the Company adopted that name as its own.
saw the acquisition of Osmiroid by Berol Ltd.
During Christmas 1990 the Warehousing and Despatch of the Osmiroid
products was relocated to King's Lynn along with the non-manufacturing
1991 saw the announcement of the relocation of the remaining Osmiroid
operations to King's Lynn and thus closure of the factory around Easter
of that year.
taken from: www.berol.co.uk
(now Sanford UK)
2nd 1995 was the date that the Newell Company acquired all of the
shares in the Berol Corporation with Berol becoming a member of the
Sanford division. Osmiroid products were discontinued at the end of
about the OSMIROID Calligraphy Kit and
find out the latest news about the manufacturer.
out my favourite, the Osmiroid '75 lettering
not for sale
about Osmiroid & Esterbrook interchangeable nibs, collected from
alt.collecting.pens-pencils, Penlovers Bulletin Board, The Zoss List
and Rambling Snail Forum... [click here]
NOTE: This web site is not affiliated with Osmiroid International®,
Sanford® or Berol® in any way. This
is an independent site containing information about pens and calligraphy
Information about the Esterbrook Pens and Nibs. [click
Ltd bought Osmiroid in 1989.
UK has been formed by the
amalgamation of six separate companies. The Sanford product range
now includes Parker Pens, Paper Mate, Berol, Waterman, Rotring and
Sanford. [The website www.sanford.co.uk is closed. Check out
eBay auctions for new and vintage Calligraphy Pens.
Go to: Collectibles > Paper & Writing > Writing Instruments > Calligraphy
this page's URL: http://hans.presto.tripod.com