Mabie Todd Swan 130C/60


Another of those pleasing three-ring Swans from the late twenties, this 130C/60 achieves its harmonious effect largely by the placing of the plated rings.  The distance from the middle ring to the cap top is approximately 1.5 times that of the two barrel rings.  Somehow that spacing is satisfying; it’s like a Golden Mean for pens.
The fact that the “SF” has been dropped from the model number indicated that it was made late in the flat-top period, though I would be hard pressed to put year to it.  “130” indicates a number one nib and one band at the crown of the cap and two bands on the barrel.  I think the third digit needs more work.  For the moment all we can say is that the zero is associated with models that have no ring at the cap lip.  The FPN list suggests that 60 indicated black hard rubber.  I think it just indicates black, because this pen isn’t made from BHR; more likely it’s celluloid.  That leaves the “C” to be explained and for the time being I can’t.  No doubt an explanation will suggest itself in time, but so far we believe that “B” means a short model and ½ indicates slender while “C” – more common that either of the others – remains a mystery.
This is a pleasant pen to write with.  It’s slender, but not so thin as to be uncomfortable.  The fine nib is springy rather than flexible.  The plating shows a little wear, indicating that the pen has been well used, but it was handled carefully.  There’s little in the way of surface scratches from use and the pen doesn’t look anything like its age.  The absence of what at this period would have been an angular fixed clip reminds us that clips were an extra, felt to be unnecessary by many buyers.

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