Another 1910 Mabie Todd Swan Chatelaine

Just a smile, just a smile
Hold me captive just a while
I can’t explain why I’ve become
Miss Chatelaine.
(Thanks to K D Lang)

Châtelaine, a woman who owns or controls a large house (a feminine form of Châtelain).
Chatelaine (chain), a set of short chains on a belt worn by women and men for carrying keys, thimble and/or sewing kit, etc.
I’ve written about this chatelaine model from Swan previously and I don’t have a lot of general information to add to that (  This example is the best I’ve ever seen.

If I used such a term as “mint” (which I don’t) this would be where I would use it.  This is a 104-year-old pen in pretty much the condition that it came from the shop.
Apart from being very pretty with its rolled gold trim and machine-chasing, this pen is significant also for the secure, bayonet-style closure which, so far as I know, was never picked up by anyone else.  Unfortunately C. Haines is just too common a name for me even to speculate about the identity of the pen’s first owner.  Suffice it to say that she was a very fortunate lady, doubtless from a wealthy background – a true chatelaine!

So there it is.  Enough said.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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‘Tis Halloween, there are spooks about,
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Who is the character in the image – or rather, who was he before I turned him into a witch?

The Wahl Pen


I confess I’m not well up on my Wahl Eversharps.  I was unable to find this exact pen depicted anywhere but its style suggests late 20s or early 30s.  After 1929, to be more precise because it celluloid and that’s when Wahl Eversharp change from black hard rubber to celluloid, or Pyrolin, as they called it.  It’s simply called the “Wahl pen”.  That’s hardly enough and it would be good to know more about it, if there are any people knowledgeable on the Wahl brand reading this.
The pen measures 13.3 cm capped.  Though it isn’t a Gold Seal, the quality is very high and the gold plating remains impeccable.  The barrel and cap have a subtle interrupted line pattern.  The quite broad single cap band is unusual for the period, as Wahl Eversharps seem mostly to have had three or two rings.  The nib is simply marked “Eversharp Made in USA”.  It’s an elegant pen, especially when posted.

I think Wahl Eversharp’s pens in this style (and there are many) are at the peak of their production.  Though it’s only my own opinion, evidently not shared by many others, I feel the company lost their way in later years, particularly with the ugly and inconvenient Henry Dreyfuss-designed Skyline which doesn’t post well and has an unnecessarily bulbous cap.  This is explained (or excused) by the fact that he also designed streamlined steam engines, but pens are pens and trains are trains and never the twain shall meet.
I think that the quiet, understated elegance of this pen is far superior.  It feels good and well-balanced in the hand and it is pleasant to write with.

Not Much Assistance From My Assistant

We had a lovely couple visiting us today and they would have liked to meet my assistant but being the obnoxious character that she is, she preferred to indulge in her Saturday dog-baiting session with the other hooligan cats from around here.  No sign of her all day but the moment that they left she strolled up demanding food, praise and attention and a soft bed.  Our bed.

Anyway, here she is, hard at work as usual.


Waterman 52 Red Ripple Pen and Pencil Set

I don’t often get my hands on a Red Ripple and to get hold of a Waterman 52 pen and pencil set is an exceptional pleasure.
These went into production in this pattern in 1923 and I’m told that the material is stainless and non-inflammable.  It’s beautiful and it’s probably the most famous pen pattern of all time.
I’ve written about Waterman 52 pens on several previous occasions and I don’t have anything to add here.  This is the first time I’ve had a Red Ripple pencil, though.  It has lead and works well.
Stunning though they are to look at, the best thing about Watermans of this period is the nib.  This one is a very pleasant fine semi-flex.  I could write with this all day and it holds enough ink to allow me to do so.


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The good news for today is that the long-standing checkout problem with PayPal and telephones and tablets has been solved, so you can have at it with your various devices.

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“Will you walk a little faster?” said a Parker to a Swan
“There’s a Blackbird close behind us and he’s treading on my flight
See how eagerly the Blackbirds and the Jackdaws will alight!
They are waiting on the web page – will you come and browse the site?
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Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, won’t you log onto the site?”
*With apologies to Lewis Carroll