A Swan Leverless

I do love the Leverless! This particular example has no number and is of the 1930s. It measures 12.6 cm capped and has retained the little gold plated Swan on the cap top. It has picked up a few scratches but the gold plating is good on the cap band though a little worn on the clip. The nib is medium, stubbed and soft but only very slightly flexible.

Even when the Leverlesses I buy are said to be restored, I open them up to take a look. Usually, they have been fitted with too narrow a sac, as if they were button or lever fillers. The Leverless needs a sac that fills the barrel. A smaller sac will slide past the paddle and the sac will not fill well if at all. Leverlesses are my favourite repair and it’s worth recounting the process for those who don’t have the Marshall and Oldfield book, though it’s well worth getting it.

The Leverless must be fully disassembled and when the remains of the old sac have been removed, the nib and feed must be drifted out of the section and all components cleaned. The sac is shellacked to the section. For some sizes of Leverless a necked sac is best because it requires a large sac to fill the barrel but the section peg is quite small. If a necked sac isn’t available I apply shellac to the peg in the usual way and bind the sac to the peg with fine thread. The assembly needs to be left for a couple of hours to ensure that it is properly cured. The thread can be carefully removed at this stage though I often leave it there. I use a very slender dowel to push the sac fully into the barrel. Then the feed and nib can be fitted.

This pen has a size 20 sac and takes a good fill of ink. The turn-button is a little stiff, as it should be. A loose turn-button can lead to unfortunate accidents!

The Leverless was one of Mabie Todd’s most popular Swans for many years and it is an excellent filling system, keeping the hands away from the ink. During the years of its production, repairmen knew how to replace the sac properly. It is only in recent years that poor repair methods have harmed its reputation. Repaired properly it holds very little less than a lever or button filler – probably more than those lever fillers that employ the inefficient J-bar.

2 thoughts on “A Swan Leverless

  1. Hi Deb,

    I like the 0160 and L212/60 for their balance and reticent but destinguished look.
    To be honest, the first ones came for their nibs, but this is a really fine pen to use.


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