A 1915 Swan Advertisement

When we think of World War I, we tend to envisage the vast killing fields of France and Belgium where a generation was thrown away in futility, but there were other theatres of war. I stupidly covered up the advertisement’s headline, but it is, “Post to Egypt and Salonica “Swan” pens as Christmas gifts by November 27”. Though the ad is not dated, both the Egyptian campaign, to protect the Suez Canal from the Turks and the expedition to Salonica (now Thessalonika) to help the Serbs against the Bulgarians began in 1915. In 1915, then, you could buy a Swan 1500 for ten shillings and sixpence. Nowadays, good examples can change hands for in excess of £150.

I’m unfamiliar with the pen illustrated on the far left but it appears to be a shorter version of the 1500 with a sterling silver overlay. The two pens depicted on the right are Swan Safety Screw Caps, one with a No2 nib, the other with a No 3.

I’ve included a contemporary box, two versions of the Swan Safety Screw Cap No2 and a 1500.


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