Once again I find myself writing in praise of the SM100/60, the 1930s/40s no-frills workhorse of the Swan range. If durability is one of the ways by which we judge old pens, then this one leaps to the fore. If simple usability should be another, then this pen shines forth even more, because I know of no pen of any date, old or modern, that makes a more reliable and pleasurable writer.
It seems a small pen at first glance, but at 12.7cm capped it’s about the same size as the Conway Stewart 388, and seems to fill the hand better. The shape of the section gives a positive grip to the fingers and the pen weighs very little – almost nothing to a hand used to later pens. I could write all day with a pen like this.
The shape is timeless, moderately streamlined and functional. Cap rings have been sacrificed to keep the price of this workaday model down, but it’s not without decoration. The engine-turned wave pattern is attractive and stands out. The black hard rubber lever gives the celluloid barrel an unbroken line.
More than most pens, even among Swans, the SM100/60 provides many exciting nibs. This little beauty is a stub with a very gentle oblique profile. It’s semi-flexible and a delight to write with. I think I may make this my daily user for a while. That’s one of the many joys of what I do – I get to use ’em all!