N is for Nib Maker
By S. LEVY & CIE , 1840

Levy & C.ie Are manufactured of the best refined India Steel, preserve freedom in writing and possess all the flexibility of a quill. They are well for each paper – Ces plumes sont faites du meilleur a ceier de l’Inde ells donnent tout la legercle et facilite pour ecrire, possedant toute l’elasticite des plumes d’oie. Elles sont propres a toutes especes de papier

  • Author: S. LEVY & CIE
  • Publication place: Birmingham & Bruxelles
  • Publisher: S. Levy & Cie, [11 Rue Pont Neuf
  • Publication date: c1840-1850]
  • Physical description: Colour printed lithographed embossed trade card
  • Dimensions: 135 by 175mm. (5.25 by 7 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 17837


Although metal nibs for pens had been in use since Roman times, and Samuel Pepys recorded using one, it was in the nineteenth century that development of the metal-nibbed fountain pen resulted in its almost ubiquitous use. Birmingham was a centre of manufacture of the steel nib, and in the 1820s William Mitchell and his brother John established a system of mass-production, which led to Birmingham producing over half of all steel pen nibs worldwide. It has been claimed that seventy-five percent of everything written anywhere in the world during the nineteenth century was written with a pen manufactured in Birmingham.

S. Levy et Cie, of Brussels, is recorded in trade directories from 1840, honours the King of France (1773-1850) with his cameo at the centre of the card.

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