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The Mabie Todd "Swallow"

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2 replies to this topic

#1 wackyjacky1


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Posted 12 January 2010 - 21:27

I picked up a modern Mabie Todd "Swallow" on sale for $39.95 at Fountain Pen Hospital. The on-line pictures of this pen really caught my attention; it was very striking, especially -- to my eye -- the tangerine color.

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Let's start with the cons:

Appearance-wise, the pen didn't really live up to the website photos. The "unique coated lacquer material" doesn't look nearly as luxurious in real life. (It didn't help that mine has a small flaw in the lacquer, allowing the black material underneath to show through. The flaw is pretty tiny, but still... :glare: )

It's also quite heavy, although a good deal of the weight is carried in the screw-on cap. Using my none-too-accurate plastic kitchen scale, the cap alone weighs in at approx. 1/2-oz., while the body of the pen (with a full load of ink) weighs approx. 1 oz. The cap does not post due to the fact that it has one of those annoying plastic sleeves inside.

The Swallow is only available with a medium iridium-plated steel nib. It comes with one international-size cartridge, but does not come with a converter (I ordered one separately).

The pros:

This sounds kinda silly, but the cap (with the exception of that darn plastic inner sleeve) is very handsome! It is matte black, with a roller clip (a feature I really like), and has the Mabie Todd "MT" logo on the top. The clip also has the "MT" logo engraved on it. The cap band is engraved with "Mabie, Todd & Co." As far as looks go, it's the best part of the pen. :P

With the cap off, the Swallow is well-balanced. Capped, the pen is 5 1/4" long; uncapped, 4 3/4", so it's a nice-sized pen that sits well in my hand. The section is a bit slender, but not uncomfortably so. The pen seems solidly made.

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The nib is nothing special, but it does lay down a nice, juicy medium-width line. It is a wee bit toothy, but I'm hopeful it will smooth out with continued use.

Overall, for what I paid, I'd give this pen a 6 out of 10. I've seen them on eBay for less, and if I paid the eBay price, I'd probably bump up my evaluation to a 7 out of 10. It's not a bad pen, but there are a few things about it (the imperfect finish, the plastic sleeve in the cap, the unbalanced weight with the cap on) that keep the score down.

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Edited by wackyjacky1, 12 January 2010 - 21:31.

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#2 QM2



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Posted 12 January 2010 - 21:33

Thanks for your review. This is pretty much what I suspected when I saw these pens in catalogues.

I don't know why it was necessary to revive the venerable Mabie Todd name only to slap it on these sub-par $40 pens. Sigh.

#3 Ed Ronax

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 11:17

Excellent review, thanks.
And how can this be, because he is the Kwisatz Haderach.

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