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Antique ivory and gold retractable pencil by S Mordan & co

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Antique ivory and gold retractable pencil by S Mordan & co

A brief history on Sampson Mordan:

Sampson Mordan was born in 1790 in England and was a British silversmith and was an apprentice of the inventor and locksmith Joseph Bramah who patented the first elastic ink reservoir for a fountain pen.

Along with John Isaac Hawkins, they invented the first patented mechanical pencil in 1822 that had internal mechanism for propelling the graphite “lead” shaft forward during use, as an improvement on the less complex leadholders that merely clutched the pencil lead to hold it into a single position.

Mordan bought out Hawkins and entered into a business partnership with Gabriel Riddle, an established stationer. From 1823 to 1837, they manufactured and sold silver mechanical pencils with the marking “SMGR” After the partnership with Riddle dissolved, Mordan continued to sell his silver pencils as “S. Mordan & Co.”, adding many other types of silver and gold items to his product line. Mordan often made his pencils in whimsical “figural” shapes that resembled animals, Egyptian mummies, or other objects; like his other silverware and goldware, these pencils are now highly collectible.

Upon Mordan’s death in April of 1843, his sons Sampson and Augustus inherited the firm. “S. Mordan & Co.” and continued to make silverware and brass postal scales until 1941, when their factory was destroyed by bombs during the London Blitz.   9 April 1843.


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