The Conway Stewart Pen Company was founded in 1905 by Thomas Garner and Frank Jarvis, both of whom had prior experience in the pen industry. Their mission was to create a economical pen which would appeal to the masses (similar to what Richard Esterbrook did in the USA). They fulfilled their mission well!
Starting with eyedropper fill pens, they progressed to lever fillers, button fillers, and even dabbled in some other mechanisms. Lever fillers were by far their most prolific product. Trademarks included “Conway Stewart,” “Duro-point” and “Dinke.” Like Sheaffer in the USA, Conway Stewart was the first pen company in the UK to introduce color (1924). They produced an extremely large number of colors and patterns, and a vast number of models.
The Company prospered until the Depression, but weathered it successfully and prospered once again afterwards, as domestic and foreign sales continued to grow. Once again following the US manufacturers, in the early 1930s they streamlined the shape of their pens. They survived the bombings of World War II and continued their success. They produces pencils to compliment their fountain pens and, in 1957, introduced a ball point pen, which failed due to unreliability.
Their high quality and relatively low cost, combined with a startling array of models, patterns and colors, make Conway Stewart extremely popular to collect today. Most striking are their pens with gold veining, the herringbones and the cracked ice patterns.
The downturn of the company started in the 1960s, with the inability to compete with the more modern designs, such as the Parker 51 and Sheaffer PFM. To try to survive they produced a very inexpensive (and poor quality) cartridge fill pen. They officially went out of business in July 1975.
The Conway Stewart name and legacy does live on, however. The company name was rekindled in the mid-1990s, and now continues to produce an attractive line of writing equipment. More about the old and new Conway Stewart companies, including an index of all their vintage pens, can be found at http://www.conwaystewart.co.uk/index.html. [Most of the data for this feature came from Lambrou, Fountain Pens of the World]