Swan Self-Filler

late 1940s

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 shiny black celluloid Swan Self-Filler, a postwar pen, probably late 1940s. It is a very nice user pen, lever-filled (“Self-Filler” means that you don’t need to open it up to fill it…sorry, it doesn’t actually fill itself.) This pen is a typical Swan — 125mm long, nicely proportioned for its length, smallish but doesn’t feel small in the hand.  The imprint is deep and complete.  There is a little, generally not easily seen swelling from cap posting, but this is typical for these pens. The celluloid shows a few minor marks of use. The gold trim on clip, lever, and cap rings is untarnished and bright.  The nib, which was described to me as “not typically English soft”, is indeed firmer than one would expect, but the nib’s identity answers the question: it’s an Eternal nib, from a 1930’s American Mabie Todd pen. That said, it writes a very nice fine to fine edge of medium line with a little bit of feedback. Nice pen, can withstand daily use.

Price: $98 Sold

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