A 1910 Swan

Here’s a very nice 110-year-old pen. It’s “The Swan Pen” of 1910. It has no number on the cap as the later ones did, like the 200 or the 1500. The black rubber is pretty well pristine and the chasing and barrel imprint are crisp and clear. The cap fits well and the section thread is very good. It has a pretty piece of slender rope work at the base of the barrel.

Though the nib is clearly quite old and tapered to fit the section, I suspect that it cannot be original. It is English-made and Swan were importing the nibs from America in 1910 so this is probably a post-1923 nib. The split feed is in good condition which is a relief. So often these pens are let down by broken over-and-under feeds. It seems to be an almost insoluble problem as things stand at the moment. Were split feeds moulded or machined in some way? I’ve considered trying to create one using a very fine saw if I could only get some kind of blank.

However, I don’t need to worry about that with this pen. All is present and near enough correct. I’ve even managed to acquire a spare split feed for any future emergencies. The nib is soft and springy rather than flexible. In all, a very good pen ready to continue writing as it did 110 years ago!

4 thoughts on “A 1910 Swan

  1. Deb. I have a few of these wonderful pens in various configurations and find them to be pretty much the quintessential pen, with the proviso that they be kept more than half full if possible to minimise blobbing at the start.
    Their nibs too were always absolutely gorgeous.

    I have sat and wondered about how they made the o/u feed myself, and have surmised that they had a special department, staffed by magical elves to do the job.

    1. Yes, they need care in use. I enclose guidance notes with all eyedropper fillers I sell, as people often have trouble with them until they understand how they work.

      In all seriousness, the lack of replacement split feeds is a real threat to many older pens. Split feeds are being pillaged from rare and irreplaceable BHR pens to rescue “prettier” ones, mottles and overlays. If I could get good blanks I’m pretty sure I could make an acceptable, working split feed.

  2. That is a gorgeous pen, apt to evoke the green-eyed monster in me. Thanks for sharing the pics and discussion.

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