Mabie Todd Swan Leverless Dark Blue and Black

There are times when the eye is better than the camera. I can see the pattern on this Leverless perfectly well but the camera can’t. I don’t set up the lightbox for the individual pens I write about and I’m not sure that if I did it would show up this subtle pattern well. Those are my excuses about the photos, now let’s talk about the pen.

The pen has no number on the barrel but if it did it would be L205/52, dark blue and black. Mabie Todd’s patterns are often subtle; this one is, I think, the most subtle. These mid 30s pens were expensive and rightly so. They are absolutely outstanding examples of fountain pen design and execution. The stepped clip is beautiful and very strong. I don’t often come across one of those clips damaged or broken out. The absence of a lever gives a smooth, unbroken barrel. The black hard rubber cap top and barrel turn button make a balanced design. The straight lines of the cap and the gentle tapering of the barrel make a most satisfying and instantly recognisable shape.

It’s not only beautiful but comfortable in the hand. It is well balanced uncapped which is how I write. The nib, a No 2, is flexible and smooth. When properly restored the pen holds a good volume of ink. I have used a straight No 20 sac. The turn button – and hence the paddle – rotates well, compressing the sac fully and creating sufficient vacuum to fully charge the sac in ten seconds.

It is my belief that these Leverlesses have never been bettered and like the Parker Duofold or the Onoto, will stand as examples of excellence for all time.


5 thoughts on “Mabie Todd Swan Leverless Dark Blue and Black

  1. Dear Deb,

    agree about all your points, one of the greatest pens ever.
    Look, size, nibs, design, balance… everyting is spot on. :-))
    I have the same colored L205/52 here. That`s luck.


      1. Deb,

        thank you for the very nice words. 🙂
        Indeed we have almost the same taste here, exept your preference for rigid nibs where I prefer more flex…

        One more thing about the 52 celluloid: It changes from lapis to blue-black with age, but is still a very nice color then. Mine has a little gradient on barrel and cap, but that’s ok…
        Some say that is caused by chemicals of the sac (sulfur?) and use silicone one when resacing.
        But why is the cap affected the same way? Maybe it’s the ink…

        Best wishes

      2. I have seen some that were nearly black. I can’t make up my mind about the deterioration of the sac in this case. You make a good point about the cap. I’m not sure that replacing the latex sac with a silicone one is proved to be better and they are troublesome to affix.

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