I write-tested and tweaked 25 pens this morning and that’s enough for today. They have still to be photographed and described, but that’s for another day.
Here’s an unusual bit of Swaniana – a match-box cover. I don’t know why you’d need a cover for your match-box but it leaves us an interesting bit of ephemera. Looking at the pen and box illustrated I’d guess at the nineteen-twenties or earlier. As ever, Mabie Todd graphics are striking. The Swan reaches out of a circle which breaks the surface of the match-box cover to seize the pen. One wing is partly concealed by the surface of the cover, the other lies over it – an impossibility that is made to appear quite believable. The cover advertises Swan Fountpens. So far as I can remember I’ve only seen the term “Fountpen” used to refer to Blackbirds, so that’s something new for me.
I can find no business information for R Johnston and Son, but they made (or had made) and sold picture postcards of the north-east of England, many of which survive and are collector’s items in their own right.