Mabie Todd Swan Eternal No 4

This Swan No 4 Leverless is an impressive and comparatively large pen at 13.2 cm capped. The trim is good with three cap rings and a gilt Swan logo on top of the cap.

I have heard it said that numbers were not stamped on the barrels during World War II. I think there’s a bit more to it than that – I’ve seen plenty of nineteen fifties Swans with no numbers. Be that as it may, I believe this to be a wartime pen.

There is an especial depth to Swan marbling. Stare at it for a while and you begin to feel that you could plunge into its depths. There is black, dark green and several shades of lighter green here. Most attractive.

Referring back to the model numbers, this pen doesn’t have one but if it did it would be 1041. It has an Eternal nib. These nibs come in for a bit of obloquoy in some of the pen discussion boards. The flex kids think that theirs is the only game in town and an inflexible nib is a nail and unworthy of consideration. That’s the limitation of their view. The Eternal is a magnificent nib, robust, smooth and impressive. Its inflexibility makes for fast, accurate writing, which is what most of us want.

5 thoughts on “Mabie Todd Swan Eternal No 4

  1. You’re right of course about the eternal arguments of nail versus flex 🙂 – I’ve one or two M.T. Eternal nibs and I think the answer lies perhaps in whether or not the tip is smooth – not much good, whether the point is a nail or very flexy – if it scratches when writing. Would agree that firm nibs allow for quicker writing.
    If you have the time Deborah will you please explain the breakdown for M.T. code 1041. I know that for some of the codes the second digit indicates the nib size, though not for this one obviously. thanks.

    1. Personally, I enjoy both firm and flex. I have both but for practical work, like writing my posts, I use a firm fine.

      I can’t do the breakdown of that number for you, Paul. I think I knew at one time but I have forgotten. The last two digits are the colour code. Cob (Paul L) is the man who will be able to tell you the rest.

  2. thanks – too many Pauls around:-)

    I was under the impression that some of the codes may be interpreted as ………..

    first digit indicates shape
    second I thought was nib size
    third is for colour
    and last number was for variations in material i.e. celluloid or HR etc.

    perhaps someone here can advise whether that’s correct or not.

    1. It seems to have been a popular naming choice 🙂 I believe it still is.

      Some codes do run in a way similar to what you suggest, though the last two digits are for colour and/or pattern. The 10XX ones differ, except that the last two are still colour codes.

      The celluloid or HR codes are a little anomalous when compared with all the other colour codes. That’s the only one where the final digit makes a difference.
      The codes changed at some point in the late thirties (I think). Certainly post-war codes are different.

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