Commemorative Letter Opener - Waterman and Mordan - Chester 1908
Stock number: 9449
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This rare silver letter opener/bookmark was made for Waterman by pencil manufacturers and silversmiths Sampson Mordan & Co. and carries a hallmark for Chester, England 1908. You will see that the inscription states “Waterman’s Fountain Pen February 12th 1884 – 1909 plus the “Ideal” logo. It was made to commemorate Waterman’s 25th anniversary of trading. Waterman pens were little known in England before 1900 when Messrs. L.&C. Hardtmuth of Golden Lane, London became the sole agents, advertising them to the trade as “The Most Satisfactory Fountain Pens to Stock…”. In 1910, for political and public relations reasons, Mr. L.G. Sloan became head of “Hardtmuth’s newly built emporium, known as Koh-i-noor House in Kingsway (London) from where Waterman pens were dispatched to worldwide markets.” Sloan had a close friend (Harry Lambert Symonds) who worked for Sampson Mordan & Co. which explains the choice of silversmith. The “pig” design had been used by Mordan since at least 1898 as it appears in an illustrated catalogue of that date. Why Waterman chose the “pig” rather than the “owl” – another Mordan favourite – is unknown.
It appears that this delightful letter opener/bookmark was created to send as a commemorative gift to retailers and prestige customers. I have seen one further example in its original Hardtmuth presentation case. This example, without its case and in good condition with some minor age wear (as can be seen in the montage) is priced accordingly. It measures 120mm long by 14mm deep. The pig stands 20mm high.
A rare piece of fountain pen history.
Source: “Waterman in England” Edward Eldred/The Stationery Trades Journal/S. Mordan & Co. Limited – Illustrated Catalogue for 1898.