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Mabie Todd "swan 1500" Twist Wire - Can You Help?


11 replies to this topic

#1 nissenk

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 12:05

Hi,

 

I've just received a Mabie Todd model "Swan 1500" in clean used condition. It's a beautiful pen with what looks to be an OB nib, more semi-flex than flex, but that suits my writing style. I've filled the pen and it works well, but the feed is not a particularly tight fit in the barrel and slides up and down the nib. When I disassembled the pen I found a piece of blu-tack inside the barrel which may have been added by the previous owner to try and stop the feed moving.

 

This pen does not have the silver twist wire whereas other Mabie Todd 1500s do and I was wondering if the twist wire helped position the feed and regulate the flow of the ink to the nib bu pinning the feed in a suitable "sweet spot". Other posts have talked about the role of the twist wire as a agitator to possibly regulate ink flow or break surface tension to also regulate the flow of ink.

 

In playing around with the pen the actual position of the feed on the nib significantly alters the flow of ink - further up the nib (with the lower feed just covering the vent hole on the nib) produces a good flow. Moving the nib further down increases the flow to the point where the flow is more of a gush - too much ink is being transferred to the paper.

 

 The nib seems to fit correctly into the barrel so the inside diameter of the barrel is probably about the right diameter for the feed

 

This raises a couple of questions for me about the pen:

 

1. Is the feed supposed to be a loose fit in the barrel? It takes no effort to move the feed in the barrel - friction against the nib seems to be what holds the feed in one place but there's not enough friction to stop the feed from moving. I need to be careful if I have to wipe ink from the nib, for example.

 

2. Does anyone have a source for the missing silver wire twist? Either original or pattern would be fine. I could get one made too (possibly a jeweler could do this and they should have access to the silver wire) if someone could post the dimensions and what the wire gauge might be.

 

Apologies for a lack of photos. It's late evening here in Australia and the light is not particularly suitable for nib closeup photography. I'll post some in the next day or so.

 

Thanks,

Karl



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#2 Cob

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 12:12

I have always had to do a great deal of fiddling to get these to work, and have never understood the rationale behind the twisted wire.

 

I might just have one of these to spare; give me a little time and I'll have a look.

 

Best

 

Cob


Edited by Cob, 15 November 2016 - 12:12.

fpn_1428963683__6s.jpg “The pen of the British Empire” fpn_1423349537__swan_sign_is.jpg


#3 Goudy

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Posted 16 November 2016 - 00:52

1. Is the feed supposed to be a loose fit in the barrel? It takes no effort to move the feed in the barrel - friction against the nib seems to be what holds the feed in one place but there's not enough friction to stop the feed from moving. I need to be careful if I have to wipe ink from the nib, for example.

 

As I recall, the over-under feed wedges in place when pushed in from the rear of the section. There's usually a sort of hump in the feed which is presumably designed to help the friction fit. You can see it in this blog post. The nib is inserted from the front, aligning it with the grooves in the section. As Cob says, it then requires some fiddling to get the nib and feed happy together.

 

The twisted wire is referred to as an agitator in the patent documents for these pens. I don't think the purpose of it was to hold the feed in place - but if it solves your problem, why not?


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#4 Greenie

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Posted 16 November 2016 - 04:56

I have three of these over/underfeed Swans. Only one has the wire still present. I don't fill  these pens, so I have no real writing experience with them.

 

The one with the wire has a feed that stays in place.

 

The other two feeds move very easily. The hump seems to me to be just a bend in the bottom half of the feed. It helps keep the feed still, but it does a very poor job. It also is responsible for making the underfeed shorter than the overfeed.

 

With my sampling of 3 pens, I would say that regardless of the patent description, the twisted wire helps hold the feed in place. 

 

It reminds me of the two piece Paul Wirt feed. That has a flat narrow overfeed. A second piece of hard rubber is wedged into the back of the section to keep the feed from moving.



#5 nissenk

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 11:04

Thank you Cob, Goudy and Greenie for your feedback.

 

I'm no closer to posting photos as I've been out attending my daughter's band performances for the last two nights. I've had a quick look at the pen this evening and the feed will slide through the section end to end - at no point does the feed wedge in the section. This would agree with Greenie's experience - the feed at its widest/tallest is still smaller than the inside diameter of the section. I've just realised from my earlier post that I meant section when I said barrel too...

 

Hi Cob,

 

If you do have a spare twisted wire that would be great - but I'm also happy to see if I can get one made if you are able to photograph the twisted wire and provide some basic dimensions - length and maximum width.

 

I should be at home tomorrow evening - I'll post some photos then.

 

Regards,

 

Karl



#6 Cob

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Posted 17 November 2016 - 14:25

I haven't found it yet - I think but am not certain I have one.

 

Cob


fpn_1428963683__6s.jpg “The pen of the British Empire” fpn_1423349537__swan_sign_is.jpg


#7 nissenk

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 21:45

Hi,

 

A few photos of the pen just for the record. There are others who have taken better photos of pens in better condition, but there's something connective, for want of a better word, about a pen that is now in it's second century of use. It's not a museum piece and is still able to function as designed when it was new. I see this pen and think about past owners, and what they may have written that connected them to others.

 

The second photo is one that I find interesting - it may be possible to see that the feed is not a tight fit into the section, in fact there is a small gap between feed and section. The gold bands of the barrel make a handy back light. You can if you look closely see the crescent shape of the nib. This is also interesting because a lose fit in any other fountain pen wouldn't work, but in the sealed section of an eye-dropper pen this works - the surprising thing for me is that works so well. I've only managed to get the pen to blob when it has been shaken, the flow to the nib is good and drying and hard starts don't seem to be a problem with this design.

 

Regards,

 

Karl

 

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Edited by nissenk, 19 November 2016 - 21:45.


#8 Cob

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 16:17

Sorry for the delay; I had to go away foa few days.  I'll search tomorrow.

 

Cob


fpn_1428963683__6s.jpg “The pen of the British Empire” fpn_1423349537__swan_sign_is.jpg


#9 nissenk

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 00:32

Hi Cob,

 

No rush at all on the wire twist. I'm playing around with a the end of a narrow cable tie to position the feed in the section using that as a wedge. It's not traditional but will work for the moment. I can get my hands on 99% silver wire on Ebay. I just need to figure out the gauge used and I can measure that off the cable tie thickness and divide that by two.

 

Many thanks,

Karl



#10 Greenie

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 07:43

As a fan of Wirt pens, and a fan of Mabie Todd, I love the idea of a wedge to hold the feed in place. If Wirt could do it in 1885, then you can do it in 2016. 

 

This thread shows a proper two piece Wirt feed in the original post, and later, there is a better view of the small wedge piece on my pen (with an incorrect makeshift overfeed).

 

Eventually, a true restoration will require a twisted wire. But for a functional restoration for pen usage, you have a great solution. If Paul Wirt were alive today, he would probably sue for patent infringement.



#11 Cob

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 18:51

Well I have searched high and low - no joy.  However I do have a Swan 1500 here with a lovely nib and its wire.  The cap is incorrect, so it could go fairly cheaply.

 

PM me if you are interested.

 

Rgds

 

Cob


fpn_1428963683__6s.jpg “The pen of the British Empire” fpn_1423349537__swan_sign_is.jpg


#12 Cob

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 13:09

Found it!

 

Doing a big tidy-up today and finally put my hands on it!

 

Cob


fpn_1428963683__6s.jpg “The pen of the British Empire” fpn_1423349537__swan_sign_is.jpg




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