Important Silversmiths - Sampson Mordan

Sampson Mordan was a British silversmith and inventor, specialised in pens and novelties.

He was apprenticed to the locksmith Joseph Bramah.

In 1815 he opened his own business and seven years later, together with John Isaac Hawkins, patented the first propelling pencil. His partnership with Hawkins ended in 1823, when he joined a new partnership with Gabriel Riddle entering the mark ‘SMGR’. The partnership dissolved in 1836 and the business became S. Mordan & Co.

Mordan produced not just pencils but any type of silver and gold novelty and small object, often decorated with unusual figures. These novelties became extremely popular and the scale of his production grew rapidly, being retailed among others by Asprey and Sons.

The firm exhibited at the 1851 London Great Exhibition and, after the death of Sampson Mordan, at the 1922 and 1929 British Industries Fair.

After Mordan’s death in 1843, his sons Sampson Jr and Augustus took over the company. In 1933 the distribution rights for the propelling pencil were sold to L. G. Sloan Ltd and in 1952 the firm definitely closed.