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The Invention of the Conway Stewart Duro Pen in the 1920s


The 1920s heralded an era of unprecedented change and innovation, particularly in the realm of writing instruments. Among the most significant developments of this vibrant era was the birth of the Conway Stewart Duro Pen, a creation that seamlessly melded elegance with functionality, forever transforming the landscape of handwriting. This blog post delves deep into the genesis of the Duro Pen, exploring the intricate details, the brilliant minds behind its inception, and the historical context that set the stage for its creation.

The Genesis of the Duro Pen

In the early 1920s, Conway Stewart, already a renowned name in the fountain pen industry, embarked on a mission to create a pen that epitomised the glamour of the Roaring Twenties and the technological advancements of the age. The result was the Duro Pen, a writing instrument that was not just a marvel of engineering, but also a symbol of the era's luxurious aesthetics.

The Masterminds Behind the Design

The Duro Pen owed its existence to the visionary duo, Frederick Bina and Francis Barrey. These individuals were pivotal in refining Conway Stewart's existing designs, infusing them with innovative features that set the Duro Pen apart. In autumn 1924, the Duro Pen was introduced, featuring a patented locking lever device, a testament to the innovative spirit of the time.

Design Intricacies of the Duro Pen

At its core, the Duro Pen was a beacon of intricate design and functionality. The pen featured a unique filling mechanism, a significant departure from the conventional methods of the time. This innovation, which included a patented locking lever device introduced in May 1925, was not only a nod to Waterman's box-lever system but also an enhancement in terms of functionality and user-friendliness. The Duro Pen's sleek design and range of finishes catered to varied tastes, blending practicality with elegance and making it a favourite tool for discerning writers. This shift in design philosophy had a profound impact on Conway Stewart, establishing it as a leader in innovation and design in the luxury writing instruments sector.

Expanding the Duro Range

The success of the initial Duro Pen model led to the expansion of the range. Conway Stewart introduced various models, including the smaller Duro No 2 and the more opulent Duro No 1, each tailored to different user preferences. The mid-1920s also saw the introduction of matching pencils, further enhancing the Duro range's appeal.

The Duro Pen and the Roaring Twenties

The Duro Pen was more than just a writing instrument; it was a reflection of the Roaring Twenties' spirit. This period, marked by a cultural shift towards opulence and flamboyance, found its match in the Duro Pen. With its sleek design and innovative mechanism, it became a symbol of status and sophistication, a must-have accessory for the style-conscious individual of the 1920s.

Legacy and Enduring Appeal

The legacy of the Duro Pen extends far beyond its initial years of fame. Its innovative design set a precedent for future pen models, both within Conway Stewart and the broader industry. Today, the Duro Pen is celebrated not just for its historical significance but also for its enduring appeal as a symbol of craftsmanship and elegance in writing instruments.


The Conway Stewart Duro Pen's inception in the 1920s was a landmark event in the history of writing instruments. It stands as a testament to the ingenuity and vision of its creators and the dynamic spirit of the era it was born in. The Duro Pen remains a cherished icon, a reminder of a time when elegance and innovation went hand in hand in the art of penmanship.

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