I found this on page 7 from "Turning Pens and Pencils" by Kip Chrisensen and Rex Burningham...
"Sometime around 1989, Craft Supplies Ltd. in the United Kingdom introduced one of the first commercially sold twist pen kits for sale for wood turners. In 1990 a pen kit was introduced in the United States by Dale Nish and Craft Supplies USA."
In 2016, I called and interviewed owners of Berea, PSI, CSUSA and Dayacom (by email) to establish an accurate history of pen kits.
I just looked up my notes, there was agreement on the beginning.
A gentleman from Taiwan (Frank Cho) was making wood pens for desk sets, as well as finished pens. He ran into CS-UK and developed a pencil kit. He was buying wood from Berea Hardwoods, so he offered to sell pencil kits. Berea started with an ad in the newly formed publication Wood magazine. We can confirm this date was 1985. At some point, Craft Supply UK was supplying CSUSA.
The pencil evolved to include a pen (24 kt slimline). As Jim from Berea remembers it, the customers were schooled in shop class and did not WANT instructions. So, actually the pen kit evolved from "Frank" who still owns the factory (GE in Taiwan--not related to General Electric) that makes the pen kits for Berea.
I bought a "starter Kit" from Hut about 1991 that was intended to allow you to "turn" a pen/pencil on a drill press. This included only sanding the blank down, no gouges/tools that I remember. I "turned" several then put the box in a drawer for the next 20 years. I still have one pen. A walnut slimline - And the mechanism still works!
I have been told (and I don't remember the source, so I am not confident this is accurate) that the gentleman who owns Dayacom was an employee of Mr. Cho's plant, who left and started Dayacom. He became the supplier for CSUSA.
I do personally remember when CS-UK had a gorgeous catalog of more pen kits than we could get in the USA. But they disappeared and CSUSA became more prominent.