George W Hughes started (in the 1850’s) in small premises in St. Pauls Square and later (1893) moved to a larger factory, called St. Pauls Penworks, in Legge Lane, Birmingham.
Their Trademark was a runing Fox carrying a Goose over its shoulder.
Geo W Hughes had a reputation for making very high quality ‘pens’ and was also know for only making nibs with his own name or ‘imprint’ on them. (i.e. E J Arnold were stationers not pen makers but they had nibs made with their name on). Geo W Hughes also made penholders, metal buttons and metal fasteners, they ceased production in the 1960’s.
Manufactured products and goods for wholesale and retail sale (from the mid 1800’s to the early 1900’s) would have travelled by ‘coach and horses’, ‘wagons’ or ‘boat’. Canal boats were the most popular as they could deliver large quantities and carry heavy loads – steel nibs in quantity weigh heavy. They also connected to the major ports around England for export. Birmingham had many wharves (wharf’s) and well served with canals for all points north, south, east and west – trade was good. During the second World War most metalworking factories were seconded to make all things for military endevours, their normal trade being reduced by upto 90%, if not ceased. Recovery was slow and difficult for many, especially with changes to transport, supply of raw materials, loss of workforce and export restrictions. The Fountain pen came into its own by the 1950’s, followed by the Biro and by the mid 1960’s most firms had stopped production of dip pen nibs, Geo W Hughes included. The history for Geo W Hughes is very fragmented, there are few advertisment, he doesn’t appear in many trade catalogues, he is named in A S Charles The Steel Pen Trade and in historical directories, he was one of about 20 Steel Pen Manufacturers in the 1850’s so the company traded for over 100 years. (CREDIT DIPPENNIBS.CO.UK)