Mabie Todd Swan SM2/57

To my mind the absolute apex of the Mabie Todd production is the Minor of the 1930s. The flat-topped gently tapered shape is elegant and the celluloid patterns in which they come are some of the best produced by any company. The name “Minor” is a little misleading; these are big pens at 13.6 cm capped.

I saw an SM2/57 in eBay a few days ago and I was determined to have it. I last had one in that blue-bronze pattern in March 2011. It cost £48 then and I probably thought at the time that it came close to breaking the bank! The one I bought this week was well more than twice as much, but that’s what these pens cost now, in unrestored condition.

It arrived this morning and it lives up to my expectations. The colours are wonderful and the pattern gives the impression of great depth. One would not have thought that blue, bronze and black would go together well, but they do, to delightful effect.

Everything about the Minor comes close to absolute perfection. The inserted clip is a good design and the hard rubber lever blends in with the barrel much better than metal would do. The nib has a tilted tip, a specialty of Swans at this period which always makes a good writer. This one has some flexibility, perhaps semi-flex.

I have said before, about the SM range, that no better pen has ever been made. I reiterate that here. More than eighty years have passed since this pen was made and I do not believe it has ever been surpassed.


Sorry about the quality of the photos.  I was unable to capture the colours of this beautiful pen as well as I would have wished


4 thoughts on “Mabie Todd Swan SM2/57

  1. I agree, these are lovely pens although the material is fairly fragile and many have cap lips that are cracked or show the odd nibble. The 2 nib size in particular has particularly pleasing proportions to go with the attractive colours. The black one though is definitely the poor relation.

    I was wondering if you will restore the colour on the lever or leave it as it is?

    1. Yes, many have cap lip cracks – such a pity. I’ll leave the lever as it is. I don’t re-black hard rubber but polishing will usually blend the lever in quite well. Yes, the black one lacks the glamour of these colourful pens. I would be quite happy with one for my own personal collection.

  2. prices for these things are getting out of hand – I think it’s all the fault of a certain book that’s appearing soon – impending volumes do wonders for a brand:-):-)

    I have a lined BHR SM2/60 with chrome fittings (gold nib though), and it’s still very black – I’m a fan of black – when they do look good they’re very impressive, and having looked through my collection hadn’t realized how many models from that period had HR levers – one or two of which have broken in half.
    Perhaps they weren’t a good idea after all. Think I’d be inclined to mask this pen off, and get the lever to look a lot blacker.

    Fortunately, I already have an SM2/57, but would be happy have just the nib from Deborah’s pen please :-):-)

    1. Yes, they have become very expensive. You may be correct about the book but some other pens, in fact almost all the more desirable ones, have seen a tremendous price increase in recent years. It’s good for the hobby, just not very good for you or me… The black can look very good and it allows the design to show without distraction.

      Those are splendid nibs. I wonder why they discontinued such a successful design.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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.