It’s wonderful when I find a pristine pen, perhaps eighty years old with shining black hard rubber and immaculate gold plating. That doesn’t happen all that often. Many old pens I find need quite a lot of work to look presentable. Unlike some restorers I don’t aim to present a pen looking like it just came from the manufacturer. If it’s an old pen it will show its age. That’s part of its attraction.
Sometimes, however, I come upon a pen that is barely recognisable as what it once was. That’s the case with this Swan Leverless. Someone with good bodging skills went to work on this pen. Perhaps the pressure bar had broken off – it can happen with these pens.
In any case, he decided to fit a different filling system. The aerometric filler came from a Parker, maybe a 17. The job has been well done and the pen fills and writes well. What impresses me most is the back end of the barrel. The turn-button has been removed and the barrel closed off very neatly. The clip has been replaced with one that fits very well though it is not a Swan clip. Again, the work has been done well.
The nib lets it down, one of those two-tone ‘iridium tipped’ nibs that you sometimes see on Chinese pens. It’s not a bad nib but it’s inappropriate for this old pen. I’ll find something better, maybe a Swan nib, maybe not. It will be a 14 carat gold nib anyway, perhaps one with some flexibility.
Given the changes this pen has undergone, it is perhaps the ultimate Frankenpen. I’m quite impressed with it. It’s unique and it’s a pen of character!
My assistant isn’t much help these days. The weather is good and she’s hanging around outside, eyeing the birds and beating up the neighbour cats. She said, “You can have your Blackbirds and Swans. I’d rather have a goldfinch!”