This small article, “mightier than the sword,” only dates from 1829, and it is now one of the greatest industries of the town. At first the price was “as high as 12s. a dozen,” and for some years afterwards wholesale at 20s. a gross. A card containing nine was sold retail for 3s. 6d., and sometimes even for 5s. And, although each pen passes through twelve processes before it is complete, they can be bought at 6d. a gross. It is estimated that 20 million of pens are made every week in Birmingham. The introducers of the steel pen were the late Mr. Joseph Gillott and Sir Josiah Mason; but there are now many makers. The manufacturers of principal note are Gillott and Sons, Graham Street; Perry and Co., Lancaster Street; Hinks and Wells, Buckingham Street; Brandauer and Co., New John Street West; J. Mitchell, Newhall Street; and S. B. Whitfield, Broad Street.
Source: The Foresters’ Guide to Birmingham and Its Neighbourhood. Presented by the Demonstration Committee to the Delegates In High Court Meeting, Assembled in Birmingham, August, 1883.Specially Prepared For the Occasion by John Alfred Langford, LL.D; F.R.H.S. Birmingham: James Upton, Baskerville Printing Works, Great Charles Street. 1883