The Mabie Todd Swan Calligraph

I had a talk with the data recovery people this morning, and it seems that the cost of restoring my image archive might not be quite as expensive as originally estimated. So I have all my fingers crossed at the moment, which makes it a little difficult to type… I’m sending them the disk today, and will wait with bated breath to hear whether the data can be recovered, and whether I can afford to have it done. Watch this space!

Anyway, back to the fountain pens! The Calligraph was a late model by Swan and it’s a little confusing in some respects. One would expect that a pen called “The Calligraph” would have a calligraphic nib. Mostly, they have perfectly ordinary fine or medium nibs; rarely they will be italic, as this example is, and sometimes they are oblique.

The Calligraph comes in two main forms. The earlier (and better) one is a lever filler, and the nibs usually have a large “C” surrounding the round breather hole. This is a good pen, and it’s the Calligraph you want to buy. The later one is a version of a button filler – the pressure bar is activated by turning the rotating button on the barrel end. It’s a good filling system, though finicky to repair. The problem with these pens is in the nibs, which are prone to cracking. They’re easily recognised: they have a D-shaped breather hole and a deeply-impressed Swan image on the nib. They’re not really bad pens but they’re not up to the previous Swan standard. I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend avoiding them, but you would be better off with the earlier, lever-filler version of the Calligraph, especially if you’re lucky enough to come across one of the few with an italic nib.


2 thoughts on “The Mabie Todd Swan Calligraph

  1. I have a collection of Swan ‘Calligraphs’ but disappointingly there are few ‘italic’ nibs. I can send pictures if anyone is trying to trawl through the history. I am in search for a couple of genuine ‘medium italic’ nibs…….can you recommend anyone?

    1. Hi Colin,
      I don’t know of a source for Swan nibs, italic or otherwise. I hope someone reading this will be able to supply you. I would be very pleased to see photos of your collection.

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