The Jotter has been around since 1954, and while it wasn't the first ballpoint pen, it quickly became one of the most popular, with over 750 million sold worldwide. The simple design and nicely understated styling mean the Jotter fits in anywhere, and it's always been a good combination of quality and price. For many of us, a Jotter was our first quality pen, and we often used them for years, because the refills lasted a long time and they were tough enough to take a lot of use.
Silvine notebooks achieved a similar level of ubiquity here in the UK, being sold in every Post Office, and in all sorts of shops, wherever you went. A decent combination of price and quality, along with some simple bold styling, meant they quite quickly became a common sight in drawers, bags and pockets, and on desks in all walks of life.
It isn't entirely accurate to say the Jotter has returned - it never really went anywhere. What's new here is a selection of premium finishes in metal, to give the old favourite a bit of a stylish makeover while making it even tougher. There are a selection of coloured metal barrels, and some nice pinstriped finishes. Along with being a good look, the pinstripes are quite reminiscent of the very first Jotters - the initial production had plastic lower barrels with grooves in the plastic - the same look is now in metal. Later models of the Jotter usually had solid-coloured plastic lower barrels, with brushed steel upper barrels. The new models update this look with coloured metal lower barrels - the same style, but with more style.
For fans of Parker's classic brushed steel look - often known as 'flighter' models to fans - there are new brushed steel versions, too, and a polished steel finish with diagonal stripes on the upper barrel.
The Silvine notebook did fade away, but it's back now, in a big way. It's as bright and bold as ever, and the quality is better than before. They're crafted with care in Yorkshire - something that's actually made in the UK! - with paper from the James Cropper Mill in Kendal. Silvine decided not to just resurrect the classic design as it was, but like the Jotter Premium, to improve on it. The result looks like the old red notebooks you remember, but they're much nicer to use.
The company that made them never went anywhere - Silvine got a more modern look, and the simple red notebooks we remember were considered a bit too old-fashioned. Well, give 'old-fashioned' a bit of time, and it becomes 'appealingly retro'. Retro designs aren't usually this authentic, though. It's not just the same company making them - they're still using the same machinery that made the original red notebooks. The quality is improved, but they're still just as handy as they ever were, and still perfect for all sorts of uses.
12 September 2016