Mabie Todd Swan
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 is a post-WWII Swan, from the late 1940s. Critical shortages of industrial materials, especially all forms of plastic, were the rule for the first couple of years after WWII ended in England, but by 1948 fountain pens of good quality were starting to reappear in quantity. Many were continuations of prewar models, and the 3230 Selffillers were among those. This 3230 is a good solid pen, 12.5cm long, in warm grey celluloid. While it’s not in perfect condition, this pen is quite clean and unmarked. The gold clip, cap rings, and lever are all untarnished and in good condition. Its barrel threads are of gold metal, which I have seen before but not often. The imprint, which is white as one sees in Swans, is complete, including the separate model imprint, which has one number partially blemished. The nib is oblique and a little stubbed, English soft, and a good wet bold writer. This can be an everyday writer that writes big.
Price: $112 Sold