Solid Silver & Gold Writing Instruments

Hand crafted in england, since 1822

Our story spans nearly 200 years, trends may come and go but our attention to detail and excellence in craftsmanship never waivers.

  • Sampson Mordan, the favourite apprentice and assistant of John Bramah, the locksmith, and an associate of Michael Faraday, sets up as an independent goldsmith in London.


  • On 20th December Sampson Mordan patents his “ever-pointed” propelling pencil. He first registers his unique hall-mark on 26th June 1823 and another with his partner Gabriel Riddle on 30th April 1824, from 22 Castle Street, City Road, London.


  • Edward Baker & Company of Birmingham gain recognition with a range of silver and gold propelling pencils, swizzle sticks, tooth picks, and other small items.


  • Ludwig Brenner, who had reached London from Pforzheim, Germany before the first world war and had established his business in Charterhouse Street , near Hatton Garden , the centre of the London jewellery trade, registers his patent on an improved propelling pencil mechanism. His patent expands that of Sampson Mordan to allow the pencil to hold 12 three inch leads thus making a yard of lead length. For this new product he establishes The Yard-O-Led Pencil Company.


  • Frank Tufnell Junior, whose father had spent his lifetime working with Sampson Mordan joins Mr Brenner in rebuilding Yard-O-Led which had suffered, as had Sampson Mordan & Co,  during the Second World War. A new workshop is established in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham. Edward Baker & Company acquires the patents and intellectual property of S. Mordan & Co.


  • Frank Tufnell gains a majority shareholding in the Yard-O-Led Pencil Company Limited and also acquires Edward Baker & Company, thus gaining the patents and intellectual property of Sampson Mordan.


  • Tim Tufnell, Frank’s son and a qualified jeweler and silversmith, joins the business in which his father and grandfather had worked before him.


  • Filofax Group acquire Yard-O-Led with Tim Tufnell continuing as Managing Director.


  • A new Yard-O-Led atelier is established in Spencer Street Birmingham, in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter.


  • Imperial Yard Limited acquires the atelier, trade and intellectual property of Yard-O-Led, Sampson Mordan, Edward Baker, LF Brenner and other historic writing instrument pioneers. Tim Tufnell accepts the role of Honorary President.


  • L'atelier in Birmingham, England

    Signifies company name European Convention Mark Signifies parts per 1,000 of sterling silver Symbol of Birmingham Assay Office Lion signifies sterling silver Letter indicates year of manufacture
  • ‘I like the idea that our pens are handed down through the generations’
  • ‘They have a lovely feel to them, when you write with them, they’re beautiful to write with’
  • ‘There are very few pens left in the world that are made by hand’
  • ‘We take our time and we know full well it’s quality when it goes out the door’
  • ‘You start off with a piece of silver but when you see the end product you can’t believe what you’ve actually made.’
  • 'Everything is done by hand, not machine. Some of the tools here are 50 to 60 years old’

To purchase an exquisite writing instrument

and start a life-long love affair with Yard-o-Led

visit one of our U.K. handpicked stockists

Fortnum & Mason

181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER

Smythson of Bond Street

40 New Bond St, London W1S 2DE


87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL

Pen Friend

Burlington Arcade & Fleet Street


400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB

The Pen Shop

Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle & Trafford

Press Information

Sidhu & Simon Communications

Sofia Rodrigues