A Jade Swan

This small Swan (11.6cm capped) is American and bears some resemblance to the red US Swan I wrote about recently. I’ve had it for quite a long time but haven’t done anything with it until now because it is quite severely damaged.

There’s a part missing at the top of the cap. I can find a way to finish that better.

More seriously, there is a crack running through the barrel threads. I can make a repair of sorts but the only really secure solution would be a metal insert and the pen, though uncommon, is not rare or valuable enough to justify such work.

It will never be sold because of the cracked threads but I will be glad to have an example of this beautiful jade pen.


If I started in on paper it would be a 3000-word essay – at least! For that reason I’ll limit myself to a couple of notebooks that I use. People write with ballpoint, felt-tip, gel pens or other writing instruments that aren’t fountain pens with the result that most notebooks are made for those pens and aren’t suitable for us. The paper is usually cheap and often thin, allowing both feathering and show-through. I found a few notebooks that would do very well but were too expensive. I write a lot and I’d prefer to spend my money on pens.

It seems to me that if you’re going to be writing in a notebook it has to lie flat and that means spirals. Drafting is done on an A5 hard back spiral notebook with plain paper. The hard cover allows me to write wherever I may be. This book is branded “Tiger” and comes in various styles: lined, index etc. Tiger notebooks are quite inexpensive and the paper quality is good with no feathering and show-through only with a wet, broad nib. Those books have served me well for many years.

For note-taking on the desk I use card-cover spiral-backs. I’ve tried various different ones over the years. Recently I settled on Black ‘n’ Red A5. Again, they’re comparatively cheap and the paper is nice though there’s a little more show-through.

As I’m sure you’re aware prices are rising madly right now and paper products are more afflicted than most. What was a cheap notebook yesterday may not be now…

My Frankenpen

Going through my no-hoper pens, the ones unlikely to be saleable or even to be repaired, I came upon an English post-war Waterman with a fine Accounts nib. That might not be to everyone’s taste but it suits me very well. The pen was in a sad state with a broken lever box among other faults – not worth repairing I scrapped the pen and salvaged the nib.

I needed a pen body to put the nib in and found an old, faded black hard rubber Mentmore button filler. Despite being aesthetically unattractive due to the discolouration the pen was complete apart from the absence of a nib. The Waterman nib fitted perfectly. I took the pen apart, fitted a new sac and left it to cure. Meanwhile I used a jeweller’s cloth and a Sunshine cloth to brighten it up a little. I screwed the section in, inserted the pressure bar, replaced the button – and I have a splendid everyday Frankenpen.


Between all the savings they’ve made shutting thousands of Post Offices and the profits they make delivering packages for Amazon and other online sellers you would think Royal Mail could deliver our paltry few pens for free but no, the price rises every year.

I’ve kept the overseas shipping charge at £12.00 for a long time but I’m taking a hit with almost every package now. Anything over £50.00 in value needs additional insurance and that’s not cheap. The average pen going to the U.S. these days costs me – wait for it – £16.35!!!

You knew where this preamble was going, didn’t you? Well, you were right, sadly. I’ll have to push the overseas shipping price up to £14.00. It comes with my apologies and I hate to do it but – Royal Mail!

Wyvern Continued

I was beginning to despair of finding anything good. All Perfect Pens and 81s which I don’t want. There’s even one of those hide-covered things on eBay at the moment if anyone wants one. Then a Big Ben came along, complete with price sticker and I nabbed that. So pictures will follow in a few days when it gets here.

Mystery Metal Pocket

I suppose we all know the Swan and Conway Stewart Metal Pockets but how about this one?

Any suggestions as to which pen this was intended for? National Security used a lion as their logo but it looked rather different.

Many thanks to Rob Parsons for sharing this image.

Many Thanks

for all the Wyvern suggestions. I’ll just have to see what turns up. I would dearly love a Redwing but it’s unlikely one will just happen along while I wait. And I have little patience, in this regard at least. In any case, I have much to think about.

Which Wyvern?

I think I’ve mentioned before that I would like to have a good example of each of the main British brands. This isn’t to form a collection in the usual sense of the word. Rather, I want to have each as a good, dependable writer that suits my hand. So far I have Swans, as you would expect, Conway Stewarts, Parkers, a Summit and a Mentmore. I don’t really want a Burnham so that leaves me looking for a Wyvern. I’m not really sure which model to go for. The post-war oddities don’t especially appeal to me. The “Perfect Pen” is perhaps nearest to what I want and the nibs are very good but they have not always aged well. I wouldn’t want one of the famous 30s/40s hide-covered pens – too expensive and not at all to my taste.

Wyvern was a great and long-lived company, one of the older British fountain pen firms. It surprises me that I’m having so much difficulty getting one of their pens for my everyday use.

Any suggestions?