Mabie Todd Swan 6142

I don’t believe I’ve written about the 6142 before.  Surprising because it was a popular pen and they appear quite often.  It’s one of those patterns that moves with the light.  At one moment a small area looks almost black.  You move the pen and the blue leaps out at you.  The celluloid – they called it xylonite – that Mabie Todd used throughout the thirties and forties is tough stuff, strongly resistant to wear.  As a result many of the pens of that period look like new.  This one has retained its gold as well to complete the picture.

The 6142 has a No 1 nib, of course.  It’s quite a small nib but it has all the fine properties of the larger Swan nibs.  This one is quite flexible.  Some people are quite disparaging about small nibs.  I’ve never understood that.  After all, they’re a lot bigger than the nib on the ever-popular Parker 51 and it’s only the final few millimetres that do the business of applying ink to paper.  I note that there is a tendency among modern pen and nib buyers to go for the biggest thing they can get.  I have my suspicions about why that should be so; perhaps an element of compensation is coming into play there but this is a family blog and I won’t go into that any further.

Strangely enough I see few of the small Swans these days.  Have they all been bought up?  Almost every pen I buy is either a 2, 3 or 4.  Spare No 1 nibs are rarer than striped leopards.  I have a rather splendid 1910s eyedropper, complete with split feed, that has been waiting for a No 1 nib to turn up for a very long time.

Like many other wartime pens, the 6142 has its clip set high to keep it tidy beneath the flap of a uniform pocket.

3 thoughts on “Mabie Todd Swan 6142

  1. Hi Deb!

    I have two SM100/60, they are uninked for over a year…
    Can’t tell why… the only reason to keep them is that one is my first Swan ever.
    Compared with a SM205/60 they look a bit poor…

    On the other side there are the eyedroppers, series 3000.
    Here everything is in perfect harmony, the thin pen, tiny but great nibs, the feel when writing.
    A basic 3012 still looks good beside a 3213 (or 36xx, but I don’t have such).
    Love them even when setting their nibs/feeds/wires is sometimes like finding a point in a 6-dimentional space. 😉

    Best wishes

    1. Indeed, Jens! The wires can be particularly refractory! These are the joys of restoration. I’m working on a severely abused SM100/60 right at this moment. Nice chasing and the BHR lever – what’s not to like?

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