Mabie Todd Swan Leverless L212/66

It would be nice if Mabie Todd had used a little more consistency in assigning numbers to their different designs of pen. That said, they were less of a riddle than Conway Stewart or Burnham, but still a little confusing. The second design of Leverless Swans, which was issued in 1938 and remained in production until 1942, were mostly designated in the form L—/–, the rare L645/88 in green lizard skin celluloid being an example. Some broke the rules by having no number, of course, like the even rarer garnet lizard. And just to confound us completely, a few of the earlier, 1933 to 1938 design also bear the L—/– range of numbers!


There’s no L-range of Swans, then, just some Swans that bear the L-designation. That said, the later L-designated Leverless pens are some of the most beautiful that Mabie Todd ever produced. The lizard skin pens are well known, but there are also pens in subtle and lovely mixed celluloid colours like this L212-66. It is a sad fact that the most common colour for Leverlesses is black, and the comparatively few patterned ones that appear tend to sell quite high.


This pen, I suppose, must go under the general description “green marbled”, but if you think of what a Conway Stewart, Waterman or Burnham green marbled pen looks like, you appreciate how subtle and understated this pattern is.

That’s class.


4 thoughts on “Mabie Todd Swan Leverless L212/66

    1. Hi Malcy,

      Thanks for the link to the .pdf file. It’s a very useful document and the members of FPN have done good work on this. For your next project, make some sense of Conway Stewart model numbering 🙂

      The great Swan anomaly in the pre-war period is the no-number pens. Quite a few have non-standard trim which suggests that they were one-offs to meet a customer’s order preferences. Others, though, especially among the Leverless pens, appear identical to pens that do have numbers.

      That’s a good thing, though. The mysteries keep us interested.


  1. Hi Deb,

    I am only finding your excellent site right now. Love the info you’re providing, it’s a great reference point for those that are looking for clues for these Swans, especially with their rambled numbering.

    I have this same pen, except with a flat top crown less the knurling and no cap bands. L28 on the section, whatever that means. This color needs to be seen to appreciate its beautiful contrast, would you say so?


    1. Hi Bob,
      I’m pleased to hear that you’re gaining some benefit from the site.

      That sounds like an interesting pen, Bob. The “L” is for Leverless, the “2” for the nib size and the “8” describes the cap conformation, including such things as the type and number of cap rings (or none, as in your case) but also how the top of the pen is finished. Sadly, I don’t have an exact description for “8”.

      Like so many of the other Swan colours, the marbled emerald (66) is subtle and I think you need to have it in your hand to appreciate it.


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