26 February 2015

Filofax York - A glimpse in to the past by Steve

The period or era between about 1991-92 and 2005 is a gap in my regular use of a Filofax. I started using one in 1986 (my black Winchester).

By 1992 my Filofax had been put in away and replaced with one electronic device followed by a few more.

This electronic wizardry was terminated by a very officious looking security gentleman, who on seeing my HP iPaq on my office desk said to me
'Sorry Mr Morton but you can't use that in the office' 
I questioned the reasoning, he quoted almost word for word an office notice about the use of personal electronic devices including PDA's, but not at the exclusion of any device that could store or record data, voice, unless encrypted to some long standard number.

This guy obviously wrote this office notice and loved quoting it at people who showed even a sniff of interest in the contents of Notice 1283-A/2003 issue 2.1 revised September 2003... or what ever it was called....

I asked about my Psion organiser.... No... it can record audio... OK Filofax? He sort of looked at me with a quizzical view and looked down at my list of holdings (protective marked and registered documents), which sadly for him was very short, but he insisted on seeing every document, notebook or manual so he could sign the checking sheet in each of them and sign me off as being a good boy until his next 'flash visit'

It sounds like a script from St Trinians I know, but word would flash around the building when 'Derek from Security' was 'in the building'. Everyone would make mad scatter to make themselves scarce... but I digress......

So when I got home from work that night I got my Filofax out again, I put my electronic toys to one side and gradually started refreshing the pages in my Filofax... I gained an A5 Finsbury for ease of printing out calendars and inserts etc. At this point I hadn't even thought or considered what had happened to Filofax in the period I hadn't been using one. Until one day when some how by accident in about 2008 I discovered Philofaxy. At this time Nan was running it on her own.

It got me interested in the use of organisers a bit more, up to this point it had just been a 'style accessory', a diary, a place to store maps and addresses. Suddenly a new world opened,  I read all of the posts from day 1 of Philofaxy, to what was the current day back then. I managed a year per day without too much difficulty. I learnt a lot by reading through the old posts. I started to comment more frequently and obviously got noticed... in 2009 Nan invited me to join her along with Laurie.

So back to this missing era... 1992-2005 it wasn't until recently that I realised that Filofax produced quite a wide variety of organisers in this period some good some not so good. Seeing these various models in the old catalogues I've been scanning (I've nearly finished!) got me interested in some of the older models to see what they were like.

Despite what people might think I don't know that much about the older models <shock horror>!! If someone writes in and asks a question I often ask others if they know the answer if I can't find the answer myself.

So when one of our readers offered me a Filofax York I found it very hard to say no. It wasn't a model I was familiar with, but when I saw the picture and description in the 1993 catalogue I couldn't wait to see it for myself.

A catalogue picture is one thing, but to actually hold one in your own hands is another thing.

As you can see it shares the interior design with the Sherwood as did other models at the time.

A very pleasant surprise when the parcel arrived was the original box. This was a time capsule of Filofax nostalgia. I love the full description on the label of the box. And the embossed 'f' in the box lid adds a lovely touch to it.

So inside this is the York in tan calf leather.

A skinny clasp similar to lots of models at the time.

Two pen loops, not elasticated though. 

Note the square profile of the spine, unlike current models that tend to be more rounded.

Eight card slots, enough for most people I would think! Note the  fILOFAX of England, York, Calf Leather, Made in Italy below the card slots . 

A neat pocket and zip pocket in the back cover.

The f on the spine, we have been trying to establish when Filofax started adding this feature. I like the contrast stitching although it blends in nicely on this model. There are no quality control three letter codes on the inside of the clasp or anywhere else on the organiser as far as I can see.

I don't know the history of this particular organiser, it is not surprising that it doesn't lay flat it looks unused to me or virtually unused. The pen loops are still flat, the leather is in beautifully clean and unmarked condition.

There is no quality control stamp on the inside of the clasp so this example could be older than 1993, but there's no mention of the York in the 1991 price list.

It might have been a lovely gift to someone back in about 1993. May be they already owned a Winchester and didn't want to move out of it, but I'm smitten with it. It really is a lovely organiser to own and use.


  1. What was the deal with not using electronic devices at work? Do you work somewhere with a lot of security? Or was he just a jobsworth with nothing better to do?

    1. Yes it was a security issue, at the time I worked for a government department.

    2. That couldn't happen today. Smartphones are everywhere all the time.

  2. There seems to be some variation in the Model Embossing on the IFC of the York. I should make a point of sending the examples along to you and Robert, for his Filowiki.

  3. That is beautiful! I really enjoy seeing these older diaries.

    I've been a lurker for years and find myself checking Philofaxy and reading past content daily. So I'm stepping out and saying, "Hi, I'm Julie from Texas!"

  4. My Deskfax, which appropriately stays on my desk, was purchased brand new in box (BNIB, for those not used to real words). Like Steve's, the box had the embossed "f" on it.

    1. Correction: The "f" was a window on the box, not embossed.

  5. Truly an object of beauty. I swear I can almost smell the leather just from the photos. Thank you for showing us, Steve, and for your interesting background story.

  6. A thing of beauty! I bought a "York" 1993. It was the only Filofax on display in a glasss monter in the shop, alongside a beautifull watch, and a wooden Filofax pencil....and it is still my Filofax of choice. Mine is almost rustic looking today since it has been in daily use for so long. If my house caught fire, it would be on the top 5 list of things to save.
    Thank you for posting!

  7. I got the " York" in 1995, it such a piece. With time, it lay flat. It was such a wonderful companion over the years. I am scared to use it now, although I should but what if it gets damaged. I am definitely going on a hunt for a new one. Filofax should definitely bring it back, it is one of their most practical models