Mabie Todd Swan SM205/83

It was maybe bad timing, but who knew? Mabie Todd chose 1939 to launch a whole new range of pens including the lizardskin Leverlesses and the snakeskin Self-Fillers. Due to the exigencies of war, neither reptile is especially common now, the lizards less so because some of those plastics are reported to have proved unstable leading to splitting in barrels and caps.


This one’s a blue snakeskin SM205/33 with a black hard rubber lever, black ends to cap and barrel and a black hard rubber section. Apart from a little chipping on the lever and a tiny loss of gold on the ball end of the clip, the pen’s in great condition. As is usually the way with snakeskins (I’ve had the good fortune to own quite a few, however temporarily) this pen has a exceptional nib, stubbish and flexible, conferring a lot of very easily accessed line variation.


I often try to evaluate the pens that pass through my hands on a scale of 1 ā€“ 10. Because I generally enjoy whichever pen I’m working with at the time, they mostly end up being 10s. However, being as objective as I can, being parsimonious with my admiration and allowing for its faults, on that 1 ā€“ 10 scale, this one’s a 15.


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