Here’s a rather nice Swan 3230. Most of these grey pens aren’t very nice, as many of them are discoloured to yellow. I’m not sure what it is that causes this particular discolouration, but it happened often enough that Mabie Todd stopped producing this colour and used the number 30 to indicate a pale blue instead. Grey must have been popular in the immediately post-war years, because several of the manufacturers, like Parker, Wyvern and Mentmore, had grey pens on offer. All suffered discolouration and were, sooner or later, withdrawn. Much later, in the nineteen sixties, Conway Stewart introduced grey pens to their less expensive range. Whatever else was wrong with those pens – and there was quite a list – they didn’t suffer from the yellow discolouration. I suppose this must have been because a new plastic must have been developed in the interim which did not discolour.
One other noticeable thing about this pen is the brass threads on the barrel. They look really stylish and indicate that this pen was one of the first run of the new design in 1948 or 1949. They, too, were withdrawn and replaced with plastic threads. There is no written evidence of why this was done but I assume it was because the brass threads can cause undue wear to the plastic threads inside the cap. The other possibility is that it was too expensive.
Finally, this pen has an exceptionally nice nib. It’s a stubbish left-foot oblique, and for me it’s a real pleasure to write with.