The Supermarine Spitfire had a lower attrition rate and enjoyed a higher victory to loss ratio earning it a permanent place in the annals of air war. During the Battle of Britain (1940), they were engaged in the task of engaging Nazi Germany’s Messerschmitt Bf 109E series aircrafts conducting Luftwaffe raids – a task they had performed commendably due to a higher top speed and performance versatility. The Spitfire housed a Rolls Royce engine and served the RAF with distinction till the mid 1950’s.
The Onoto Pen Company, which has been creating masterpiece writing implements since 1905 is now in the process of creating a sonic-boom in the world of fountain pens with the introduction of a limited-edition Spitfire Pen. The pen will celebrate the birth centenary of the Royal Air Force and its most iconic aircraft, the Supermarine Spitfire. Production will be limited to a hundred fountain pens, followed by another hundred Roller ball pens. The project is being given shape with collaboration with provenance brand TMO Art Metal of London.
All the pens will be crafted out of Duralumin originating out of a Battle of Britain veteran Spitfire P7350 – and will have the number engraved thereon. The pen, in keeping with the iconic sleek curves of the Spitfire, will feature a gentle radius and its cap will be crowned by a propeller spinner. The clip will be made of bronze and will resemble a propeller blade. Form, function and legacy – the pen, from the preliminary reports coming in, promises to be at the least, as formidable tome to ingenious craftsmanship, a true tribute to the war machine of yore.
The pens will be priced at £1,995 including VAT (about INR 2 lakhs) – that they will provide the defining firepower to any collection will certainly go without saying.
It will not be out of place to mention here that Onoto was the first company to advertise pens that were “Guaranteed not to leak” – no mean fact considering that we care talking about the early decades of the last century. As a matter of fact, it is the proud maker of a pen that was sent down to the ocean bed by enemy U-boat action and continues to write – after sending 70 years underwater! Now fully restored, the pen which is more than a hundred years young, is regularly used by the Onoto Directors.
There is another interesting India connection to this particular pen – a Medina Onoto, belonged to none other than Sir Thomas Carmichael, who was posted to India in 1911 and had served as the Governor of Madras and Bengal. There is another very interesting India connection to this outstanding company that is known for its essential Britishness, manufacturing ingenuity and global marketing success.
Legend has it that George Sweetser who had recently got his invention a self-filling, safety fountain pen patented had approached (the year was 1905) one of the most respected British “establishment” companies of the day Tomas De La Rue and Company Limited for its commercial manufacture. Incidentally, Tomas De La Rue had made its name (and not inconsiderable fortune) as the printer of British and Indian Stamps since 1865 and had also ventured into the printing of Bank Notes in 1860.
Onoto was the trading name that was chosen for Sweeter’s pen. The rest, like they say, is history.
For More information about Onoto pens in general and the TMB art metal Spitfire P7350, you can contact the company website: www.onoto.com