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Mabie Todd Review


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7 replies to this topic

#1 barleycorn

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 18:07

Most of the reviews submitted are for current pens. Since there is a lot of interest in vintage pens, I offer a review of a pen I recently purchased from a local pen club member. In size the SWAN 4461, in black and gold, is similar in size to a Sailor 1911 Large, in black and silver, a favourite pen of mine. Most of my pens are Sheaffers - Targas in particular but I have an interest in different filling systems. The Swan has a new sac and the monogram on the body has been removed. This pen is in clean but well used shape. For this review
I used Noodler's Starry Midnight Blue - another pen club purchase.

Mabie Todd was established in the US before the turn of the century. It moved to England between the wars where it manufactures quality pens into the 1950's. It was bought by BIC and faded after. There are some new Mabie Todd pens but the company peaked in the 30's and 40's.

THE PEN

According to online resources, the 4461 is a leverless pen made of hard rubber with a no 4 nib (1-6, 6 being the largest). It is a classic cigar shape with a gold clip and 3 bands; simple but elegant. It is difficult to see from the photo that the cap narrow slightly from the middle to the top. The clip is tapered toward the bottom with a center ridge and the Swan logo at the top.
It is slightly shorter than the 1911L capped and longer posted. It is a bit narrower and lighter than the 1911L but shares the same balanced feel when posted. There is an imprint on the body - I have attempted to draw. Swan is stamped on the grip and 4461 near the base of the body. The filler knob forms the cap at the end of the body and features a knurled grip.
The pen is a twist filler. Turning the knob 1/4 to the left releases it and another 1/2 a turn twists a metal bar around the sax to expel the air or ink. With the nib in the ink, a 1/2 turn releases the sac and sucks the ink through the feed. Another 1/4 turn to the right secures the knob; simple and elegant.

THE NIB

The nib is 14K gold and is stamped as shown in the diagram. It is similar in length and width to the 1911 but, in profile, about half as thick. At the end of the slit is a heart shaped breather hole. There is some spring to the nib but it is not one of the flexible ones. If you put a bit of pressure on the nib it will put more ink on the page. I tend to be light with pressure but it makes a noticeable difference. For comparison about the same as a Targa F and M.

TEST RIDE

There is a bit of feedback from the nib but it is quite smooth. This is the first hard rubber pen I have used. It feels slightly warmer to the touch and softer than a modern pen - such as the 1911. The more I use it, the more I like this pen. I would like to try one with a flex nib some day.

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#2 barleycorn

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 18:09

more pcitures

#3 barleycorn

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 18:10

writing sample and diagram of imprint and nib

#4 Malcy

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 22:19

Nice review. I love these pens and have 42xx and 46xx but the 44xx size is what I need to make up the series. Prices seem to be shooting up for these pens as they are becoming recognised as great writers.

Enjoy. :)
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#5 Malcy

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 22:28

:rolleyes:

Edited by Malcy, 28 September 2012 - 22:29.

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#6 barleycorn

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 03:32

Nice review. I love these pens and have 42xx and 46xx but the 44xx size is what I need to make up the series. Prices seem to be shooting up for these pens as they are becoming recognised as great writers.

Enjoy. :)



Thank you for the comments. Love your pictures ... nice variety of pens. I picked this pen up at a good price for a user grade pen. Do the nib sections interchange? I am thinking that if I could find a similar aged pen with a flex nib but not as good shape it may work to swap them. Nice writer but nothing different. Just curious.

#7 Malcy

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:46

Thank you for the comments. Love your pictures ... nice variety of pens. I picked this pen up at a good price for a user grade pen. Do the nib sections interchange? I am thinking that if I could find a similar aged pen with a flex nib but not as good shape it may work to swap them. Nice writer but nothing different. Just curious.


In that they are mass produced, the 44xx nib sections should interchange but there are often small variations between vintage pens because manufacturing systems were not as precise and consistent as they are today with computer control. Vintage pens can also suffer from shrinkage which may affect fit.

One thing that seems to be pretty consistent with Swans is nib sizes. You are more likely to get good results by swapping just the nib and perhaps the feed rather than the whole section. They are friction fit, so a size 4 nib from another Swan should be a straight swap.
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#8 branodncooley92

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 22:11

Great Review






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