"I’ve been here for more than 50 years…The production process hasn’t really changed since my first day here." - Dennis Freeman, Yard-O-Led ArtisanEvery writing instrument from Yard-O-Led starts its life as a sterling silver tube. This is then subjected to a number of processes to create the beautiful writing instruments which reach our shelves. The silver tube is shaped using one of the few powered tools in the Yard-O-Led factory. Called swaging, this process is necessary to shape the end into a tip for both ballpoint pens and pencils.
"I spend some time swaging the pencil barrels, which means bending them to shape with a swage block and cutting the pieces to size. Other pieces of metal will be annealed – that’s heating them until they’re soft enough for you to work them." - Steve Clarke, Yard-O-Led Artisan
"it takes about 2,000 blows of the hammer for each one" - Girishbai Parekh, Yard-O-Led ArtisanAs this pattern is applied completely by hand, each Yard-o-Led Artisan has their own unique take on the pattern. They can even identify their own and their colleagues work just by sight. The Barley and lined finishes are created using a hand operated machine dating from the 1930’s which can etch two pens at once. However, it requires a highly skilled craftsman to use this machine and ensure the pattern is uniform. The barrel and cap are then sent for hallmarking at the Birmingham Assay Office. This marks the writing instruments as sterling silver and made in the UK.
"It’s very satisfying to see the final pen come together and to realise that you’ve been part of that process. I also like the fact that some of the machines and benches that we work on here are 150 years old and have been used by generations of people like me." - Steve Clarke, Yard-O-Led Artisan
"I like the idea of each one of our pens or pencils going to someone who will appreciate the work that’s gone into making it and will look after it. People pop in every now and then to have a repair done – or just to look around and see where their pen or pencil was made." - Bernard Sperring, Yard-O-Led Artisan