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.

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About goodwriterspens
I restore fountain pens, and used to trade as redripple52 in eBay. I also have my own fountain pen sales website, www.goodwriterssales.com

15 Responses to A Sterling Silver Split-Lever Swan

  1. Peter says:

    Paul says they were only made for one year, in 1919, Deborah

  2. How wonderful to be able to continue learning so much about the subject of our fascination. Thank you Deb and Paul..

  3. Paul Stirling says:

    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.

    • Someone said it might be next year. I’m waiting with bated breath! I would be delighted if you would send me the photos of your pen.

      • Andy Russell says:

        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.

      • Thank you, Andy. Looking forward to it!

      • Paul says:

        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!

      • I’m sure one will come your way one of these days. Many thanks for sight of the pen.

      • pderl says:

        Thanks for the good wish!

  4. Paul Stirling says:

    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:-)

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