(Forward by Mike Bryan)
As with all new-fangled wonder products, the fountain pen was created by great advances in technology. The first successfully commercial fountain pens were made possibly by three major advances: the development of superior non-corrosive inks, the creation of iridium-tipped gold nibs that were smooth and fantastically wear-resistant , and the invention of early plastics in the form of vulcanite (hard rubber).
British companies were at the forefront in developing the new consumer phenomenon, which must in its day have had the equivalent impact on society as the mobile phone has had today. De La Rue were one of these early great British pen companies, who created a major international brand, Onoto. They went on to make many and varied wonderful pens and pencils for many decades until the decline of the fountain pen industry in the 1950s.
De La Rue, of course, like many old established British companies, before the influence of globalisation, were not a one-trick pony and had many other facets of their business including security printing, primarily postage stamps and banknotes and, of course, most of us would recognize them as the manufacturers of playing cards.
However, this book concerns itself mainly with the history of De La Rue's pen production. It looks at writing equipment and associated items from the late 1800s through the golden age of the 1920s and 1930s to 1958 when Onoto production was discontinued in Great Britain.