Mabie Todd Swan

1930s

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 Swan Leverless models from the late 1930’s were twist-fillers, a notch simpler to fill than the more typical lever-filled pens. They look like piston-fillers, with the knob at top, but all the knob does is twist the pressure bar, which twists the sac, and releasing the twist draws ink into the pen. At 13.5 cm long and a bit more slender (.9cm below the cap), their size was probably selected to take best advantage of the twist (“leverless”) mechanism. This pen is most likely the L205/62, in red/green/grey marbled celluloid; the numbers imprinted in the pen’s tassie are incompletely legible. Similarly, the section, which has some discoloring, is also marked “L2”, which is believed to be the marking for a section to fit the Leverless 200 series. The celluloid is very clean, showing only a few minor scuffs. The crown and tassie, which are probably vulcanite (ebonite in England), are slightly discolored. The worn tassie imprint and discolorations are this pen’s only flaws.  The gold trim is completely clean and unmarked, and the imprints on the cap and barrel are clear and complete. The nib is marked “Swan 2” and is 14ct; it writes a fine/medium line with a bit of shading; there is some feedback. This pen comes with a contemporaneous Swan box.

Price: $130 Sold

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