Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 162,539 pages of information and 244,522 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

S. Mordan and Co

From Graces Guide
June 1911.
1933. S. Mordan and Co Gold Pencil.

Inventor of the propelling pencil and maker of jewellery, of Belfast Chambers, Beak Street, Regent Street, London, W. (1922)

of 41 City Road, London, EC1. (1929)

  • 1815 Sampson Mordan
  • 1822 or 23 S. Mordan and Co
  • 1898-1941 S. Mordan and Co Ltd

Sampson Mordan senior was an apprentice of Joseph Bramah

1822 Mordan patented his first "ever pointed or propelling pencil" on which the fortunes of his firm were based. The mechanical pencil was first invented in Britain by Sampson Mordan and Gabriel Riddle - the earliest Mordan pencils are thus hallmarked SMGR. Note: There is an opinion that the propelling pencil was invented by John Isaac Hawkins with Sampson Mordan and that Gabriel Riddle was a manufacturer.

1826 Advert. 'BY HIS MAJESTY'S ROYAL LETTERS PATENT. MORDAN & CO.'S PATENT EVER-POINTED PENCILS.- The ingenuity and utility of this invention having secured universal approbation, it needs only to be seen to be instantly appreciated. Not requiring the use of a knife for forming the point, Ladies in drawing or writing will not soil the most delicate glove, and a short-hand writer will never be impeded in taking notes. Other advantages will be obvious to the purchaser.- Sold by most respectable Goldsmiths, Jewellers, Silversmith, Stationers, etc. etc. - N.B To present imposition, "S. Mordan & Co.'s Patent" is stamped on each of their Patent Pencils.'[1]

1837 Partnership dissolved. '...Partnership heretofore subsisting between Sampson Mordan and Gabriel Riddle, under the firm of S. Mordan and Co., (by virtue of an indenture made in October 1823), and carrying on business as Mechanists and Manufacturers of Patent and other articles, at No. 22, Castle street, Finsbury, London, was, on the 20th of December last, dissolved, by the expiration of the term limited in the said indenture...'[2]

By 1838, the firm of S. Mordan and Co listed smelling bottles, ink stands, locks, letter balances and many other small well-made objects, often with an aspect of engineering about them that intrigue today's collectors. Always projecting a reputation of top quality, the business thrived.

1843 After Sampson senior's death, his sons Sampson (junior) and Augustus inherited the firm.

Also made copying and tracing machines.

1851 At the Great Exhibition, they displayed "Bright steel, fire proof jewel box, decorated with ormolu ornaments. Carved ink stands, inlaid with pearl and gilt ink glass attached, with gold pen." Practicality aligned with beauty and ingenuity. They continued with ever-increasing success supplying the best establishments in London and Paris until approximately 1909.

1860s Maker of enamelled scent bottles

1879 Partnership dissolved. '...the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, Sampson Mordan, Augustus Mordan, Zachariah Watkins, and Edmund Johnson, carrying on business as Machinists and Manufacturers, at 41, late 22A, City-road, Finsbury, in the county of Middlesex, and 72, Cheapside, in the city of London, under the style or firm of S. Mordan and Co., was, on the 17th day of April, 1879, dissolved, so far as regards the said Zachariah Watkins, by mutual consent...'[3]

1922 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Gold and Silver Cigarette Boxes and Cases, Pencil Cases, Flasks, Matchboxes. Special: The "Centennial" Everpointed Pencil. (Stand No. D.15) [4]

1929 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Everpointed Pencils. (Stand No. R.101) [5]

1933-41 L. G. Sloane Ltd were Mordan's sole distributing agents

1941 S. Mordan and Co continued manufacturing pencils and a wide range of silver objects until the Second World war when their factory was bombed.

Post-WWII. The Sampson Mordan Co patterns were sold, and the name was acquired by Edward Baker of Birmingham. Frank Tufnell junior, whose father had been an associate of Mordan's, bought the Edward Baker Co, as well as a majority shareholding in Yard-O-Led Pencil Co.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Examiner - Sunday 05 March 1826
  2. [1] Gazette Issue 19458 published on the 17 January 1837. Page 16 of 28
  3. [2] Gazette Issue 24721 published on the 13 May 1879. Page 23 of 68
  4. 1922 British Industries Fair Page 56
  5. 1929 British Industries Fair Page 119
  • [3] The Thimble Society