Mabie Todd Swan 142/50

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No pen, to my mind, is as beautiful as the large nineteen twenties Swan. That’s the shape a pen should be, that’s the size it should be and this is how the clip should look. Black cap rings surrounding the gold ones are just a huge bonus. The pen is 13.6 cm capped and posted it’s 16.7 cm which sounds very long but it balances nicely like that.
As you can see this one was once jade but it has discoloured as these pens often do. I think it’s still a very beautiful and elegant pen. For those who like the detail this is a 142/50. I’m not sure how you work that one out. Normally, for pens of this date, the first digit is the nib size but this pen has a number two size nib which it was clearly meant to have. The four refers to a complication of banding on the cap. The two might be a transferred nib size. Maybe. Perhaps. We are on more certain ground with the 50 which is simply the code for jade.
The nib is splendid: broad and semiflexible and the ink delivery has no trouble keeping up. As you would expect with that amount of ink being laid on the paper it’s as smooth as smooth can be. It’s a perfect pleasure to use.
There is a discreet personalisation, “J Hornsey”. A Google search threw up several by that name, mostly in Yorkshire. Perhaps Hornsey is a Yorkshire name but the pen came from away down in Hastings, just to confuse things. None of the ones I found really fitted the profile for someone buying a quite expensive fountain pen back in the nineteen twenties.
All in all, it’s an exceptionally nice pen and if it had been a fine it would have been a keeper for me but with my writing a line written with a broad would take up half a page, so this one will turn up on the sales site in due course.


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