A Swan SF230

This SF230 is one of the clipless ones; clips were an option when these pens were issued in the mid-twenties and it is surprising how many customers saw the clip as unnecessary, at first at least, though some appear with accommodation clips, indicating a later change of mind. It suggests that for many the pen remained on the desk only but it was increasingly carried by others.

This pen is in exceptionally good order, still as black as when new. It also retains its original lustre. This is how an SF230 looked in 1925.

We all have our favourite periods and pens. This decade is mine, Swans from 1925 to 1935. The SF range, together with the slightly later Leverlesses and the very handsome Eternals are the best of all pens for me. There’s something about the length, balance and weight (or lack of it) that suits my hand better than any other. I love its appearance too: the two barrel and one cap gold-plated bands and the inclusion of a mottled hard rubber piece at the top of the cap. I have an American friend who enthuses about these pens and it is the MHR that captivates him. The US Mabie Todd Company made somewhat similar pens but only the British ones added the MHR.

The nib is a correct New York one and it is as good as they always are. It’s so nice to have a century-old pen in this condition, especially the then new technology of a self-filler. That’s when all those eyedropper fillers that we enjoy were put away in a drawer for us to discover years and years later.

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