Mabie Todd Swan Safety Screw Cap No 5

Pen companies are happy to announce their new models, but they neglect to tell us when they stopped making a particular model, darn them! So it is with some confidence that I say that Mabie Todd brought in the Swan Safety Cap range in 1911, but it’s a more shaky guess that they ceased production in 1920. That was the year they introduced lever fillers, making the Swan SSC obsolete. However, I expect they remained on sale in shops for a time after that.   When the Safety Screw Cap was launched, Mabie Todd made much of the the screw-on cap which was intended to stop the pen leaking into your pocket. Advertisements also drew attention to the ladder feed, an innovation which the company kept until the end, and to the gold bar over the centre-line of the nib which delayed drying out.    This pen, I believe, is one of the later ones, made after they stopped installing the gold bar over the nib. It’s a No 5, and while it retains all the features of the smaller Safety Screw Caps, it’s an altogether more chunky pen. While still quite long posted, it doesn’t share the long slender proportions of, say, the Safety Screw Cap No 2. Indeed its length both posted and capped is much more like a modern pen. Quite worn by long use, the pen now shows little sign of chasing and the barrel imprint has almost gone. The decorated cap band still looks good despite obvious signs of plating loss. The large nib is a No 4. One might expect a No 5 pen to have a No 5 nib, though I can’t be certain that this was the case. The No 4 nib may well be a replacement, but it’s in proportion with the rest of the pen and it looks good there. It’s a semi-flexible medium. 

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