Feeling right at home
What do the pedal bicycle, television and penicillin have in common? The Scots. It’s a nation that takes enormous pride in their innovations, and rightly so, as they’ve been at the forefront of discoveries that created our modern life.
Thomas De La Rue & Company moved the Onoto fountain pen factory from London to Leven Valley, Scotland, in 1927. And even though the Scots did not invent the fountain pen, here, Onoto felt right at home. After all, these were times when people were only starting to get used to the idea of carrying a pen. It was an innovation not unlike the iPod.
A fertile group for craftsmanship
The site De La Rue chose was the Strathendry Factory and the old paper mill soon began to manufacture pens. Thirty of the best craftsmen, nib grinders, slitters, turners and all the important men that go to make a good fountain pen, were brought up to Scotland. Bringing with them highly skilled tooling work which was previously unknown in the area.
The company was fortunate enough to find houses and flats for them in the village of Leslie and some 3 decades later they were still carrying on their jobs. Passing on their know-how to young people who were trained as goldsmiths and hand turners, some of whom went onto work for factories in Birmingham and London.
New collections, new colours
The first pens of Scottish manufacture came out of Strathendry during Easter week 1928. They featured an all-new range of beautiful coloured plastics. Viridine Green, Regina Blue and Opaline Pearl were initially available in the Onoto plunger filler and Delarue level filler pen ranges. Red, White, Coral and Amber colours had been added slowly within the next few years. A coincidence but worth pointing out that the first breakthrough in colour photography, a picture of a tartan ribbon, nonetheless, also originated in Scotland.
The Highlander Pen
We still look to Scotland’s luscious landscapes and colourful culture to ignite our creativity. That’s why the highly polished tortoiseshell style resin of this new pen reflects the green terrains and misty lochs of the Highlands. It’s based on the style and shape of one of the most famous fountain pens ever made – the Onoto Magna of 1937. It has 3 gold-plated sterling silver cap bands with the gold-plated sterling silver Onoto Chevron clip.
Holding this pen might just transport you to a land of mythical creatures, ingenuity with a zest for life. What other nation would have a Unicorn as their national animal after all? Only an imaginative one.