I often come across Swan pens with no model number. Was the model number intentionally left off or was it an oversight? If the latter, there seems to have been a lot of oversights and it was an omission that could easily have been returned by inspectors for rectification. It’s just another Mabie Todd puzzle, like so many more. Sometimes it’s absolutely clear what they are – if it’s streamlined, dark blue and has a No 1 nib, it’s a 3120 – but other times it’s harder or impossible to discern what model a pen is.
Take this nineteen-twenties beauty that came my way the other day. It’s barrel-stamped as a Self Filler but there’s no number on the barrel end. Never has been, either, as it’s not at all worn. It’s a very long pen at 14cm capped and an outstanding 17.5cm posted! It’s slightly more slender than, say, an SF230 but it isn’t very slender. It’s reminiscent of the Swan Minor range, though I seem to remember an SM2 as being shorter and having a machined pattern, whereas this has none. Whatever it is, it’s a gorgeous pen and it feels good in the hand despite its length.
The handsome No 2 nib is semi-flexible and a pleasure to write with. In a recent email conversation, my correspondent and I concluded that semi-flexible is the way to go. You want some line variation but a full and easily induced flex is just too much for everyday writing.
In conclusion, though this pen has points of resemblance to several other pens of its time, I haven’t seen another quite like it It’s quite special.