Another Look At The Swan SF1


There was a time, well nigh a hundred years ago, when this pen was the latest, bleeding edge technology with some of the cachet for the proud owner that today’s smartest new smart-phone might have. It’s hard for us to imagine that now. Even the very latest Pelikan or Lamy doesn’t share that brief glory because pens are no longer the most desired means of communication.


This is the Swan SF1, and the SF stands for self-filling, a revolutionary improvement in the convenience of the fountain pen. Now, not only would your fountain pen write page after page without dipping, when it came time to fill it the apparatus for so doing was an integral part of the pen. With a little assistance from you it filled itself! No more dripping ink into the barrel with an eye-dropper – if you could find one – and risking shirt and paperwork if you accidentally overfilled it and it spilled. Just immerse the nib, operate the lever and it fills itself.

The actual change in technology was such a leap forward that the company balanced it with conservative styling, retaining a strong resemblance to the eyedropper fillers that had gone before and were familiar to their customers. Sales were strong across the SF range and there are many hundreds of these pens still around today, many being used once again. That’s hardly surprising. This little SF1 will give you everything that a modern pen can and quite a bit more.


The quality of Swan nibs of any period has yet to be matched in a modern pen. These old black hard rubber pens give a pleasure in writing that is uniquely of its time: we don’t make nibs like that any more.


7 thoughts on “Another Look At The Swan SF1

  1. Hi Deb,

    It is indeed a very sleek pen in my opinion and precursor to many later models fron Mabie Todd.

    Thank you for showing it to us.

    Kind regards,


  2. This is a pure sober beauty. I just love those Brit BHR pens. They have a class of their own,

      1. …And that’s the definition of DESIGN!
        Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.
        Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.

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