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Thread: Numberless UK Swan seeks identification

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    Senior Member grainweevil's Avatar
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    Default Numberless UK Swan seeks identification

    Meant to post this weeks ago, but only now got around to the pics. Hopefully there's still someone around who might be able to help, as my grasp of Swan models is far, far below that of many a Geek.

    Mabie Todd & Co Ltd Self Filler
    Black Plastic (? Not BHR anyway)
    Silver-coloured trim
    123mm long, capped
    10.2mm barrel
    Swan 14Ct no. 1 nib

    Stamped Swan all over in the usual way, but apparently George the number stamp guy was having a Saint Monday.

    Can any nice lady or gentleman tell me what this wee pen should be referred to as? (Answers such as "Bert" or "Algernon" are a given.) A clue as to its age would be lovely too.

    swanunknown01.jpg

    swanunknown02.jpg

    Thank'ee.
    In the words of Paul Simon, you can call me Al.

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    Member jos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Numberless UK Swan seeks identification

    Your fellow-countryman Stephen Hull recently published the definitive history of English Swan Mabie Todd pens. His book has more than 1100 (!) pictures of virtually all English Swan pens that were ever produced.

    I think that your pen is shown on page 235 of the book. The pen has no model number and is catalogued as being of a series of 'austerity' pens. The book describes that these pens were made during the wartime years (from 1941 on) under rigorous government restrictions because pen factories had to switch to production of munition. The government only allowed production of a limited number of pens in order to counteract black market trade. There is a whole chapter on these pens, really interesting stuff.

    It is a superb book and can be bought directly from the author:
    www.englishpenbooks.co.uk/home/the-swan-pen/

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    Senior Member SchaumburgSwan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Numberless UK Swan seeks identification

    Hi,

    I'm with jos: a wartime pen, it looks like a celluloid Swan 3160.

    A friendly pen and your nib looks very interesting. :-)

    Best
    Jens
    .................................................. .................................................. .

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/136145166@N02/albums

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    Senior Member grainweevil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Numberless UK Swan seeks identification

    jos and Jens, I thank you. Wartime austerity, eh? Could be quite the en vogue pen then. And part of me longs for the book, but a saner part tells me it'd only make me lust for pens I cannot afford. Also first I'd have to off-load a fair few similar books on woodworking tools to make room on the shelf. All these expensive niches hobbies I seem to wander into.

    Jens, my notes describe the nib as semi-flexible medium, but I do err on the side of firm when describing flexibility. I love the description of a friendly pen, and understand exactly what you mean.
    In the words of Paul Simon, you can call me Al.

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    Default Re: Numberless UK Swan seeks identification

    I, too, have one with no number. I wish the book weren't sold out. It is similar to the SM1/60 but with a metal lever. It came with a #3 nib. New York imprint.CameraZOOM-20200505153944380.jpg

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    Member jos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Numberless UK Swan seeks identification

    Quote Originally Posted by RayCornett View Post
    I, too, have one with no number. I wish the book weren't sold out. It is similar to the SM1/60 but with a metal lever. It came with a #3 nib. New York imprint.
    I am not an expert on these pens but I can check for you whether your pen is pictured in David Moak's "Mabie in America" book.
    A good picture of the barrel, nib and clip imprint would probably be helpful.

    Update
    I checked the "Mabie in America" book and didn't find your pen there but I did find it in Stephen Hull's "Mabie Todd in England" book.
    Your pen is pictured on page 102 and is catalogued in the series of Mabie Todd's first lever-fillers of the early 1920s. It is the only pen in the book that has a clip with the "SWANCLIP" imprint that your pen also has, and the legend to the picture states that the barrel of this pen is imprinted "Stenograph".
    Last edited by jos; May 6th, 2020 at 12:02 PM.

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    Senior Member SchaumburgSwan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Numberless UK Swan seeks identification

    Quote Originally Posted by RayCornett View Post
    I, too, have one with no number. I wish the book weren't sold out. It is similar to the SM1/60 but with a metal lever. It came with a #3 nib. New York imprint.
    Hi,

    learned something new... thanks for presenting the Swan. :-)

    Steven Hull's book seems still available, just the limited edition is sold out:
    https://www.englishpenbooks.co.uk/home/the-swan-pen/

    Best wishes
    Jens
    .................................................. .................................................. .

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/136145166@N02/albums

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