Bayard is a major historic French fountain pen brand; the company was founded in 1922 and has continued operations until the '60s when, as most historical producers, was taken down by the revolution of the ballpoint pen.
Bayard fountain pens were characterized by good overall quality, certainly in par with the one of the American producers, even though the company was never reported for specific innovative technical contributions, the validity of its products has ensured the success and is still valued by collectors.
|Models et al.|
The company officially took the name Bayard only in 1934, when the Panic Frères & Co. was renamed in Stylo Bayard. The company had its origins in the late years of 1800, starting from the activities of a Parisian bookseller, Etienne Forbin, who in 1903 took the reselling rights of various American writing instruments producers. In 1912 he registered the trademark Bayard. In 1922 the Forbin grandchildrens resumed the work of their grandfather founding the Société Panic Frères and started a fountain pens production. But for marketing reasons, they used as trademark the name of the medieval knight Pierre Terrail de Bayard, that was an hero of the wars in the medieval Italy, considered as the image of the knight without fear and without blemish.
The initial models were the classic pens in chased or mottled hard rubber, made in cylindrical shapes with the classical eyedropper or safety filling system. There were also luxury models with gold or silver overlays. The pens were advertised using the figure of a knight who had a nib as a shield and a pen as a spear; the advertising claimed that the Bayard pens did not feared competition or remarks on their quality. The nibs of these first models were marked with the symbol PF (standing for Panici Frères) except for the top models that had the nib marked with the word "Bayard", which otherwise was normally reported on the pen body.
In 1927 were first introduced lever filler models, that in 1930 were divided into two series, the Normal and the De Luxe. In the late '20s the company began to produce their firsts celluloid models, and launched the 446 series, in jade, ruby and lapislazuli, with a special removable back that could be replaced to use the pen on a pen-holders table.
In 1932 production was reorganized, and an economic model, the Special 8 was launched; it was a lever filler, in black or marbled celluloid black with an metal alloy nib. It was then introduced the model Superluxe, always a lever filler, but with gold nib and produced in black, iridescent marbled gold or iridescent marbled green celluloid. The new pens had streamlined forms, with the ends of cap and body of conical shape, and were produced both men and woman models.
The next year another models reorganization was made, the Special 8 economic model was introduced, with a metallic. The pen had two ring on the cap and and black or marbled body; the same was for the Luxe and the Superluxe models that were coupled with it, but that were equipped with gold nibs. It was then introduced the Superluxe Grosse Containance model, with an increased size and bigger ink capacity, that had a decorated band on the cap. The Special 8 e Luxe models were provided with a tie-shaped clip inserted on the cap, while the Superluxe and Superluxe Grosse Containance had a spear-shaped washer clip. The next year the clip was engraved the name Bayard.
In 1935 the Superluxe cap rings were replaced by a decorated band. The clip of both this model and the Grosse Capacité (new name of Grosse Containance) model were built in the shape of a tie, but without the Bayard name engraving. In 1937 a model with an intermediate size between the Luxe and the Superluxe was introduced. It was called Special Luxe, and made by marbled colored celluloid, with the usual decorated band on the cap, which decoration was amended the following year. In 1938, following the trend introduced by the Vacumatic, Bayard introduced a new model equipped with transparent barrel to stem the ink level vision, called Niveauclair.
In that same period two other flagship sub-brands were also used directed towards two different market segments: the Excelsior brand for the second tier of medium quality pen production, and the Alpin brand used for cheaper pens produced for the lower end of the market, mainly students and schoolchildren.
In 1940 there was a restyling of the Luxe line going towards a more streamlined cap but maintaining the conical ends of the pen. It was also introduced the new Superstyl model, still a lever filler, in two versions for men and women. The Superstyl had three rings on the cap and a spear-shaped clip with a double "V" pattern; it was made of celluloid produced in many colors, and equipped with a gold nib. The next year the Super Luxe model was introduced, a cheaper and smaller pen, reiterating the lines of the Special 8, and aimed at young people.
The Second World War period was critical, as the use of gold was forbidden in many European country, and the celluloid supply began to run low. The company still tried to maintain high quality, while using steel nibs. Around 1943 was introduced the Excelsior model; it was very similar to the Superstyl, but with a steel nib branded with the Excelsior name. The innovative feature of this pen was that the whole nib block was interchangeable, since the steel nibs were subject to greater wear, and the pen was sold with a spare The model was successful, and despite the restrictions had disappeared after the war, it remained in production until 1948.
In 1947 the most successful models like the Special 8, the Special Luxe and the 4 underwent a restyling following the overseas trends. In 1949 also the Superstyl had a restyling, and was produced with a more streamlined shape without the double "V" pattern on the clip. In the same year the company launched some other models: the Special Luxe, the Capostil with hooded nib, and an economic version of the Special 8. All of them were lever filler.
In the early 50's the stylistic lines were uniformed and the various series took a similar form. All models moved to a fully streamlined shape losing the tapered conical ends. In 1950 the luxury model Super Bayard was launched; in the same period other models were born such the Bayard 2000. Also some pump filler models like the Excelsior 507 were produced, and also some accordion filler model (the Stylomine patent was expired) like the Fit.
During the '50s the company underwent a continuous decline in sales caused by the growing market share of the ballpoint pen. Bayard try a revival in 1956 with the Souverain de Luxe model, a streamlined pen, with covered nib and accordion filler, produced with a metal cap. But at the time the writing instruments market was dominated by ballpoint pens; smaller models were introduced, such as the Bayard 20, the Bayard 30 and the Karting, a cartridge filler, but the decline continued relentlessly until the final closure in the mid of '70s.
|1903||Etienne Forbin become agent for some U.S. writing instruments manufacturers, is the origin of the company|
|1912||Etienne Forbin registers Bayard trademark|
|1922||the company Panici Freres & Co is founded, they will produce the Bayard pens|
|1927||the company introduces its first lever filler models|
|1929||the company introduces the Bayard 446|
|1929||the company introduces its first celluloid models|
|1930||the company introduces the Normal|
|1930||the company introduces the De Luxe|
|1932||the company introduces the Superluxe|
|1932||the company introduces the Special 8|
|1933||the company introduces the Bayard Luxe|
|1933||the company introduces the Superluxe Grosse Containance|
|1934||Panici Freres & Co is renamed Stylo Bayard and the trademark "Bayard" is engraved on clips|
|1935||the company introduces a decorated band on Superluxe model|
|1937||the company rename the Luxe line as Special Luxe|
|1938||the company introduces the Niveauclair with visible ink level|
|1938||the company introduces another band in the Special Luxe|
|1940||the company introduces the Superstyl|
|1940||the company restyles the Luxe with more streamlined shapes|
|1941||the company introduces the Super Luxe|
|1942||the company introduces the Excelsior with changeable nib|
|1947||the company introduces a Special Luxe new version|
|1947||the company introduces a Bayard 4 new version|
|1947||the company introduces a Special 8 new version|
|1948||the company retires the Excelsior|
|1949||the company introduces the Special 8 economic version|
|1949||the company introduces the Capostil|
|1949||the company introduces the Superstyl in a new version|
|1950||the company introduces the Super Bayard|
|1956||the company introduces the Souverain de Luxe|
|1958||the company introduces the accordion filler for the Souverain de Luxe|
|1973||the company ceases operations|
- date is uncertain, this page reports 1939, but the name is citen in some December 1938 advertising, so we assume this year.