Swan Snakeskin SM100/85

I wonder if somewhere someone has a full list of Swan colour codes.  Such a thing would be very good indeed!  I work off the the number interpreting list that was developed in FPN some time ago.  It’s very good but it consists essentially of the pens people had at the time, so it’s incomplete.  It’s also my assumption that these colour names are not those that Swan assigned.


This one is a Swan SM100/85.  It’s the “85” part that I don’t have a good explanation for.  The seller of the pen described it as “ruby snakeskin” but that’s far from right.  So far as I’m aware there is no ruby snakeskin.  Garnet is the nearest to that colour and that’s very much brighter than this pen.


These photos were taken in natural light and what I’m seeing on my monitor is close to identical to the colour of the actual pen.  Very close.  In fact, I can see no difference.  Monitors vary, of course, so you may be looking at something slightly different.  The colours I see vary from dark brown to light brown to dusky pink.  So what do you call that?  Brown snakeskin?  85 is “mauve snakeskin” in the list.  Well, maybe, I suppose, in certain lights.  But not really.  For it to be mauve it would need a lot more purple than it has.  There’s no evidence of fading, either.  Faded pens always have the original colour on that part of the barrel shielded by the cap.  There’s no brighter part under the cap here.


These snakeskin and lizardskin pens have a tendency to plastic shrinkage, making them a challenge to disassemble.  Luckily, this one was an exception.  The section popped out with just a little heat.  It was a matter of moments to install a new sac and reset the nib which gone a little awry.  The chrome plating on the clip had seen better days – probably around seventy years ago – and I brightened that up, so far as possible.


The nib, as is so often the way with these pens, is an oblique stub with a little flex.  They don’t come any sweeter.

8 thoughts on “Swan Snakeskin SM100/85

  1. It doesn’t surprise me that there are still colours that we haven’t come across before. I wonder if MT&Co had records of them all?

    1. Hi Malcy,
      I’m sure they did. It’s often said – and rightly so – that much material that would be heaven to researchers was incinerated in the Blitz. However, it may be that these pens continued to be made after that period, and there must have been later records that may have referred to them. They seem to have disappeared too. It seems to have been only quite recently – within the last thirty years or so – that we have begun to see old company records as a valuable resource.


  2. That’s a sweet looking pen. It looks reasonably mauve in places to me, on my screen. But I’ve not seen any other colour varieties of this pen. Thanks for posting.

    1. Hi Claire,
      You may well be right and the name “Mauve Snakeskin” may be quite justified. I was comparing it in my mind with pens like the Conway Stewart 75 Mauve/Black Marbled, which is downright mauve with no room for doubt! There is mauve in the snakeskin, but there’s a lot of brown too.


  3. These colour codes are in one of the back cattalogue of one of the WES Journals, at home at present these are in my workshop, I’ll send them to you, wen next there.

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