Some Nibs


Upper Left: Swan No 2
Upper Right: Wyvern
Lower Left: Canadian Parker Duofold
Lower Right: Conway Stewart


Couldn’t be more different in design.  The Swan, an oblique, is very sculpted.  The Duofold looks like it’s down to the gold but there is tipping there, though it is quite worn.  I might do some more of these as the subject has taken my interest now.

Another Hightime

The Hightime is an uncommon post-war pen which I have written about previously at length. The search box will find it. Apart from also being a button filler this pen is entirely different from the previous example. It has a 14 carat gold nib, unlike the other and it is a more traditional style of pen. Unusually, it appears to be made out of black hard rubber. The only other company using that material after the war was Mabie Todd.  The section and nib are reminiscent of some of Wyvern’s post-war styles.

My thanks for photos and information to Paul L.

A Blue Marbled Wartime Swan

Swan’s blue marble is a particular delight. It’s a subtle pattern, disappearing and reappearing over the length of the pen and the blue is a beautiful silver/blue. So when a nice 40s pen in this pattern with good gold appeared I would normally have been bidding high but what appeared to be a cracked nib – though the crack was in a most unusual place – caused me to limit my bid quite severely.

As it happened I got the pen at what I decided was a reasonable price. I had a couple of spare No 2 nibs and I was all set to make the swap but when I looked more closely I was not entirely sure that what I was seeing was not just a deep scratch and not a crack.

I pulled the nib and cleaned it up and a first visual seemed to confirm that this was not a crack. To be sure, I slid it under the microscope and it was confirmed. It’s only a scratch. I won’t exchange the nib; this one is perfectly fine and it has good semi-flexibility.


Despite reduced capacity due to disastrous bomb damage and very high demand to supply servicemen away from home, Mabie Todd’s quality remained as high as it had ever been and the wartime pens are very good indeed.

Mabie Todd Blackbird Fountpen

I’m sure most will be familiar with this pen, essentially a BB2/60 without the model number.  What makes this example interesting is the condition.  It’s absolutely immaculate, as is the box.  Even the guarantee paper remains flexible and soft.  I asked the eBay seller where the pen came from.  It was a house clearance after an old man died.  There were other pens which the seller had listed but he took so long to send the Blackbird to me that the others were gone by time I knew to look.

Where It Happens

I used to have a workshop but when I moved to a flat a few years ago that had to be sacrificed.  Now this one room has to cover all pen-related activities.  It’s okay.  I got used to it.


My most-used tools are in this wine box.  Other essentials are in a drawer, in a cabinet and on shelves.

My Assistant

She will be 14 years old next month but she’s still as lithe and fit as ever.  She continues to take her work seriously.  I must have lost a section under the table when I was searching through spares.  She found it and batted it around for a while to draw it to my attention.  So dutiful.