Mabie Todd Swan

late 1910s

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

The earlier US-made hard rubber Swans are often beautiful pens, not like the more pedestrian-looking Self-fillers seen later in mass English production. This pen, from the late 1910s, is a beauty, 5 7/16” long. It’s in marbled scarlet hard rubber, in excellent condition; shiny, largely unmarked. The cap has two inset black cap rings surrounding a gold ring, and the crown has three more rings, the topmost forming the edge of the crown, which also has a black engraved swan. The model number, 142-53, is clearly engraved in the barrel’s base. The pen’s imprint (“Swan” Self-Filling Pen) is shallow but complete. The nib is a Swan 2, 14C, and writes a wet, full medium to broad flexible line. This is a treasure, for regular, careful use or for a collection.

Price: $195 Sold

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