‘A Man’s best things are nearest him, lie close about his feet’, Lord Houghton.
‘The happy marriage is the one where the husband endures discomfort without complaining.’
‘Don’t try to do things as well as other people, try to do them a little better.’
These witty little excerpts and quotes are just a few modicums of wisdom gleaned from Smythson’s A Mere Man’s Calendar dated 1914.
When Frank Smythson established his luxury stationery emporium in 1887, his ideas were pioneering and evocative. His functional, durable products were inherently stylish and often juxtaposed with British wit and humour.
His playful, irreverent tone coupled with the luxury of his products made his brand stand out from the rest. Quintessentially British in all that he purveyed, Frank Smythson was the original connoisseur, a true trendsetter and tastemaker of his era.
Travel and adventure have always been tantamount to the Smythson design process. With these key themes in mind, it’s clear how Frank Smythson’s ideas and pieces were not only geared to the needs of the Victorian gentleman traveller, but have also transcended the test of time.
The brand has constantly updated and adapted to the needs of the contemporary generation. Join us while we take a retrospective look through some of our more innovative and unusual men’s pieces.
1902 saw the introduction of the Monitor Bag, advertised as ‘the most convenient of all bags’. It featured useful compartments and fasteners on the interior, focusing on the needs of the intrepid adventurer and those on the move.
Forever focusing on ways to entice the gentleman globetrotter, this grooming set, dating back to 1910, incorporated two specially designed lightweight suit brushes, which were, as the catalogue announced, ‘handy and very flat – indispensable for the weekend case’.
The ‘Silent Friend’ whisky soda library set, with a bookish facade concealing a secret compartment for a whisky and soda bottle and 6 whisky glasses, is another charming example of the Smythson wit. The Blondes, Brunettes and Redheads notebooks made an audacious debut in the 1950s. The tongue in cheek inscription boosted sales of the notebook and it is still one our bestsellers to date.
Smythson’s men’s accessories have adapted to the requirements of each contemporary generation. It is interesting to think that in 1902 Frank Smythson was innovative in his thinking by introducing the ‘en route writing pad,’ complete with postage stamps and blotting paper. Today we are still creating cases for this era’s portable writing station, the i-pad. It is indeed a testament to over a century of understanding the needs of the modern connoisseur, that Smythson continues to hold its ground as the world’s leading purveyor of stationery and luxury goods.
‘Fall in love and keep on falling in love if you would remain young.’ Dr J Oldfield.
A Mere Man’s Calendar 1914