The Mabie Todd Swan 444C/60


I haven’t seen one of these before and a Google search and a search of my printed materials didn’t throw one up either, so I think it’s fair to say that it’s quite uncommon. The “S.F” which began the number on older pens has been dropped, which would place it, I believe, in the late 1920s. The first 4 denotes the nib size, the second indicates unusual bands, in this case “stacked coin” bands at the crown and near the lip of the cap. The third 4 shows that this pen began life with an Eternal nib, which it still has. I don’t know what the suffix “C” is for. The “60” is for the material the pen is made from, black hard rubber. It’s a little faded, to dark brown, and it shows the wear one might expect from a long life of hard use. The barrel imprint is worn away and the gold plating is worn in several places.


At 13.3cm capped and posted, this is a big and bulky pen, though it isn’t heavy. Even posted, it’s light and well-balanced in the hand, and the big Eternal nib skims over the paper smoothly. With this size and the “stacked coin” bands it’s a pen made to be noticed but it’s fully practical as well, as shown by the use it has had over the years. By the time this pen was made, there were already colourful plastic Swans available, so the 444C/60 was quite a conservative choice.


These elegant, robustly made pens of the twenties and early thirties often gave many years of work for their first owner and are ready to start all over again today. This is the kind of pen that one expects – with some justification – to go on writing forever.

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