by Alan Charlton


My interest in Burnham fountain pens was started in the early 2000's when I was given a small collection of miscellaneous pens from the mid-1950's to pass on to my friend Usher. I had the pens for a while and decided that I particularly liked the look of a Burnham 56…..

 I was hooked and the interest grew from there. Soon I found various things. I found that Burnhams were not in the top rank of pens and had a rather small following; that there was very little published on the brand except some scattered snippets in the Journal of the Writing Equipment Society. The offerings of Burnhams on the internet auction site Ebay were initially rather scanty but becoming steadily more frequent, and there was more historical pen material out there going back to the 1930's or earlier. So we started collecting and it began to look as though there were enough pens to give a picture of how the pen features developed. At the same time as I got more interested in the pens, Steve Hull was working on the histories of British pen firms, and in 2005 published an article in the WES Journal on the Burnham firm. It's hard to believe now, but I had begun to consider writing an account of the pens even then.

 A greater diversity of pens was then appearing on Ebay. This made an account more promising, on the one hand, and more difficult to start on the other hand because more pens kept appearing so there was so often more to add. But by 2009 I was getting organised… then fate stepped in and the preparation was stopped by illness in 2009. After that I was unable to do anything more than tinker with what had already been done and that took time too. So the account here is not what I originally had in mind, particularly the photographs, but here it is!

 I realise that there could be plenty more information and observations out there and I will modify this site as far as I can to take account of any further information.


How it all began