This one’s a bit special! It’s a Mabie Todd and Bard Swan eyedropper filler. Bard was dropped from the company name in 1907 so this pen is before that but I don’t know how much before that. Going on advertising images that I have seen my guess would be somewhere in the late 1890s. It cost quite a lot but I suspect I got off light and the real price is rather higher at I paid.
It’s a gold filled half overlay and the overlay is printed “The Swan Pen Pat Feb 8 81 Feb 21 82 Mar 6 88 Mabie Todd & Bard New York”. The pen measures 13.4 cm capped. The cap bears a Swan imprint. It’s the most basic of eyedroppers and the nib appears to be a medium. I suspect that it’s a replacement as the base of the barrel carries the letters “OBL”, signifying that the pen was issued with an oblique nib.
It’s a slender pen, which was what people expected back in those days when they were making the transition from dip pens, almost all of which were very slender.
The hard shelled case has a leather finish and apart from one scuff on the top it is in good condition. There are some ink stains on the inside. The original eyedropper is included. The rubber bulb has hardened with the passage of time, but these can be bought on the Internet.
This pen was issued at a time of comparative peace and plenty. The two horrific world wars of the 20th century were yet to come. Though society was ordered in a way that we would reject today, it was stable and wealth was distributed more fairly than it is today. The economy was sound and unemployment was low. I wouldn’t want to go back there but at least they didn’t have the daily diet of horrors that comes our way. It’s interesting to compare the conditions under which people lived in Britain then and now. I think we’ve seen plenty of progress but little, if any, improvement.