Mabie Todd Swan 3230 Set
About This Model
Mabie Todd was one of the oldest manufacturers of fountain pens, having started in the 1860’s in New York with pen holders and pencil cases. Their first true Swan fountain pen was brought out in 1884, featuring a nib with an over-under feed and ink feed via a twisted silver wire. British production began in 1907, and it soon far outgrew American results. Soon Swans became, with Conway Stewarts, top selling English fountain pens, with Leverless and Selfiller models following throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Mabie Todd also produced Blackbirds, as a second level pen. Blackbirds were usually a bit more plain and less adorned than Swans, but made equally well, and generally used the same nibs with Blackbird markings. Their history parallels Swan's, with growth, innovation, and senescence at the same times.
Like Conway Stewart, Mabie Todd produced a huge variety of pen colors and color combinations, each with a distinct model designation that can make specific identification tricky.
With most of the English fountain pen industry, Mabie Todd declined after WWII, and finally disappeared in the late 1950’s.
About This Pen
One of the delights of accepting pens on consignment is that wonderful surprises come in the mail. This Mabie Todd Swan 3230 and matching Fyne Poynt mechanical pencil were indeed one such surprise. From the late 1940s, this is a lovely set in truly excellent condition. It is typical size for an English pen, 12.8cm long, and a lever-filler. The pen and pencil are in grey celluloid with gold trim, and there isn’t a mark of use or wear on either pen or pencil, nor the discoloration that one often finds in the grey pens from this period. The imprints are deep and clear, the gold-plated trim is untarnished and straight. The lever is strong and the pen fills well. The nib? A Swan 2, in 14ct gold, and it writes a wonderful wet medium with a touch of flex.
The Fyne Poynt mechanical pencil, also made by Mabie Todd to sell with or separately from their pens, is in equally nice condition. It is 12.4cm long. The barrel, cap and trim all match the pen exactly. The pencil works perfectly, with 1.2mm lead (one is installed), and is a simple twist mechanism. The cap, interestingly, unscrews from the body up under the clip rather than at the pencil’s middle, revealing a threaded brass brass bushing and an eraser. The eraser is intact but not useable; it was not removed to keep it intact, but lead storage is, in theory, under it. The imprint is very deep and clear.
Finally, in a nice touch, this lovely set comes in its original box! The box’s original velvet-like inside cover is shedding little fibers, but they just wipe off the pen and and pencil. This set could be a perfect graduation or congratulations present, but please treat it to a case to protect the pen’s and pencil’s finish?
This pen is not for sale.