Mabie Todd Swan 142/50
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 SelfFiller 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
This Mabie Todd Swan 142/50 is a truly lovely example of a late 1920s jade celluloid pen. It’s unmarked, completely clean, with no discernible deterioration in the early celluloid. It is New York production, 5.4” long and .4’ thick, like most hard rubber pens of the day. Unlike the contemporaneous hard rubber pens, this one is elegant and handsome — in addition to the jade, both ends of the cap have a gold ring surrounded by two black rings, a special appearance. The Swan imprint is deep and clear in the cap crown, and the 142/50 in the barrel base. The number only partially fits typical Swan nomenclature, but numerous exceptions exist. Clip and lever are completely clean, with no missing plate. Flaws? This pen did have a hairline cap edge crack, which has been repaired. The nib is a Mabie Todd NY 2, in gold, and writes a firm but not too firm fine/medium with some shading. A very nice example of an American Swan.
Price: $140 Sold