Why Vellum & Steel?

Vellum & Steel was launched in May 2014.  Its founders, Paul Arthur and Andrew Maddock, are well known stationers in Sherborne, Dorset – owners of the Cheap Street shop ‘Midwest the Stationers’.  In an age of digital communication, when receiving a handwritten letter is rare, Vellum & Steel promotes the love of writing by hand and appreciation of well made writing tools. 

Featuring designer pens and pencils, beautifully made journals and high quality writing accessories – browse our site and discover the pleasure of putting pen to paper in style.



According to the Roman Varro, vellum and parchment were invented under the patronage of Eumenes of Pergamum, as a substitute for papyrus, one of the earliest writing materials. As prices rose for papyrus and the reed used for making it was over-harvested towards local extinction the use of vellum (originally made from calf skin) and parchment increased. In the later Middle Ages, the use of animal skins was largely replaced by paper. New techniques in paper milling allowed it to be much cheaper and more abundant than parchment. With the advent of printing in the later fifteenth century, the demands of printers far exceeded the supply of vellum and parchment and the era of modern paper-making began.

Beautifully made, high quality paper really adds to the experience of writing and Vellum & Steel will offer ranges of journals, paper and envelopes that celebrate the best examples from today’s paper makers.



The history of the fountain pen, and nibs, is a long one. The modern fountain pen nib may be traced back to the original gold nib which had a tiny fragment of ruby attached to form the wear-point. Following the discovery of the Platinum group of metals which include ruthenium, palladium, osmium and iridium, a small quantity of iridium was isolated and used on the iridium-tipped gold dip pen nibs of the 1830s. Today, nibs are usually made of stainless steel or gold alloys. Steel nibs have harder tips; those with un-tipped steel points will wear more rapidly due to abrasion by the paper.

Steel has played a major role in the development of today’s popular fountain pens and Vellum & Steel offers a collection of the finest designer pens on the market, from traditional fountain pens to more contemporary rollerballs.


Love writing with a nib?

We’ve discovered this wonderful video – watch it and be inspired to write in ink and with style.  Comes with a nib-against-paper sound warning…

Enjoy the film 'Nibs' by Mr Mottishaw... it's addictive.