A Sterling Silver Split-Lever Swan

This beautiful sterling silver Swan is not just a joy to behold; it’s historic.

To set the scene, Sheaffer did its best to cut other companies out of the self filler market. Their patent was quite conclusive and they had an array of sharp-toothed lawyers waiting to pounce on anyone who infringed it.

In response, Waterman came up with the box lever. Conklin produced the Crescent filler. Parker went for the button filler and Swan patented the split lever filler.

Swan’s self filler appears to have been developed by Felix Reisenberg, a freelance inventor. The application was filed in 1918. Though it is a little complicated the split lever presses down on the pressure bar in such a way as to deflate the sac completely. It is therefore more efficient than the J-bars used by Mabie Todd at a later date.

The fact that this is a decidedly uncommon pen indicates that the split lever Swan was not around for long. Looking at it, I would think it might have been expensive to make. It was replaced by Swan’s long lever which was just as efficient and perhaps more satisfying in use.

We are left with an elegant, slender, patterned relic of that time of great ingenuity and inventiveness. All of these early filling systems worked well. All were carefully crafted to avoid Sheaffer’s patent while providing the fountain pen user with a good, easy method of pen filling.

Many thanks once again to Paul L for entrusting me with his beautiful, rare and valuable pen.


15 thoughts on “A Sterling Silver Split-Lever Swan

  1. Assume everyone knows that Stephen Hull’s Swan book will be published perhaps at the end of this year – no doubt we shall be able to see this model in his book, along with all the other rarities that we’d love.
    May I send you pix of my reasonably rare g.f. Swan Deb, to include in your gallery here – I do have the original velvet lined box:-):-)

    Seriously – massively desirably pen, and I’m salivating each time I look – so to Paul from another Paul, just to say I’m very envious – good find.

      1. We updated the English Pen Books website with the latest information on the Swan Book last week. Steve is now looking at the London WES show 2019 as a launch date, and I think this can be considered definite. The website includes a preliminary contents list for the book, and the preview page will be updated regularly over the coming year with some sample pages as the photography and layout proceed.

      2. It is as Deb wrote, a slim, elegant pen. I had wanted a silver Swan for ages, so I was doubly happy to find a split lever one. I shall now have to save up to get a silver Leverless to keep it company!

  2. my apologies for the wrong information – obviously I’m out of date – but know this is going to be one very good and popular book.

    Will send some pix soon, Deb – thanks:-)

      1. I am of course looking forward very much to the book; if it is anything like Steve’s Onoto book it should be very good indeed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.