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Black Swan 'york' F.p. Button Bar Biro


22 replies to this topic

#1 PaulS

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 12:51

seeminly an uncommon f.p.  -  it appears on John Brindle's M.T/Swan list although only in Burgundy and Florentine Blue - the reason possibly being that by c. mid 1950s the twist fill system lacked appeal  -  unfortunately the bar is missing in this pen.

I had a quick look on the screen, but very little seems to come up for the 'York', and this is the first example I've found.

Twist bar aside, the quality of the pen looks reasonable  -  it may well be BHR, as there was an absence of celluloid smell when I was cleaning the barrel and cap.

Despite what the chalk mark says, I think the nib was changed at some time, certainly the tip on the nib looks to my eyes wider than a 'medium' - but it's smooth and has some flex, so really a very charming little No. 1.

Unfortunately the blind twist button moves very little, and doesn't want to retract fully to match with the end of the barrel - I might delve deeper to see if the problem can be remedied.           The g.f. on the clip is largely intact, and despite the Brindle list implying that all trim was g.f., the clip screw is a chrome job - but looks good. 

Attached Images

  • Swan 'York' - 2.JPG
  • Swan 'York' - 1.JPG
  • Swan 'York' - 3.JPG

Edited by PaulS, 28 November 2017 - 12:52.


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#2 mitto

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 08:09

The plunger needs restoration and repair.
Looks broad stub nib, Paul. Beautiful pen.
Khan

#3 PaulS

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 12:59

thanks Khan.    Having peered into the barrel with torch and poked thin metal rod into recess of the button, I assume this just a standard leverless functioning pen - albeit that someone has nicked my pressure bar, and there's an absence of any remains of a sac.      Are you suggesting something different - a plunger piston ??   Perhaps I've misunderstood your comments :)                 Interesting to see that internal barrel threads are in the form of a separate clear nylon threaded sleeve  -  and (probably) in the name of economics, the barrel lacks any imprint - which pre 1950 would have included the word 'Leverless'.

You probably correct with suggestion of broad stub - great little nib.



#4 Cob

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 14:00

This pen is a Biro Swan product; I imagine an early one since the nib is stamped Mabie Todd (unless of course the nib be a replacement which seems unlikely given the pen's condition).  Many of the later nibs had half-moon breathers with a swan wrapped around them and were stamped 14ct - 585.

 

I have never had a York or Warwick so cannot comment about the filling system.  The one late (Biro Swan) Calligraph I had which had the same style of filler knob used the standard Swan pressure bar with the ball end, designed to be free to rotate int he filling mechanism thus making installation of the section and sac assembly a lot easier that otherwise it is.

 

Cob


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


#5 mitto

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 14:11

thanks Khan.    Having peered into the barrel with torch and poked thin metal rod into recess of the button, I assume this just a standard leverless functioning pen - albeit that someone has nicked my pressure bar, and there's an absence of any remains of a sac.      Are you suggesting something different - a plunger piston ??   Perhaps I've misunderstood your comments :)                 Interesting to see that internal barrel threads are in the form of a separate clear nylon threaded sleeve  -  and (probably) in the name of economics, the barrel lacks any imprint - which pre 1950 would have included the word 'Leverless'.
You probably correct with suggestion of broad stub - great little nib.



I am sorry, Paul. You are correct and I was wrong. Don't know why I said plunger. :)

But what I meant to say was 'the filler knob'. Resac your pen and enjoy writing with it. Is the pressure bar still usable?

I particularly liked the nib.
Khan

#6 PaulS

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 14:58

sorry - posted before I had seem Khan's reply :)

 

thanks  -  the assumption was that the nib on this one was a replacement - simply because the chalk mark says M, whereas the nib - as suggested, not unreasonably, by mitto - appears to be something 'broader'. 

Regret I'm not informed enough on these things to feel confident of differences between M.T. Swan and the later Biro Swan products  -  although one indicator might be that the latter have the longer/slimmer clips as shown on this York  -  the top end held down by a metal clip stud rather than the intrusion sort on early pens. 

 

I've a couple of Self-Filling Calligraph Prefects, with this longer/slimmer clip, both with chrome levers and clips - and they have the stylized C encircling the breather hole, so assume they are Biro Swan products with their original nibs.           My only nib with half-moon breather with a Swan imprint is on a Blackbird - again with the longer clip - and so assume this also a Biro Swan.

 

Regret to say your description of  'Swan pressure bar with ball-end'  has lost me  ..........   my limited knowledge runs only to 'leverless' and 'lever' systems.

My rather uneducated opinion is now suggesting that this York might just possibly be a button-bar filler pen     The bottom of the barrel appears to show an aluminium recessed cavity, which doesn't appear on the leverless system.             Against this suggestion is the fact that the threads on the button appear to be black 'plastic' rather than aluminium, and the section appears not show any 'flat' around the threads.    

Do we know whether the button-bar system continued until c. mid 1950s  -  the date this pen was made??

 

P.S.   in support of the button-bar suggestion, I notice that the M. & O. Repair manual shows a model with a very similar button (page 143 on Third Edition)  -  black and ribbed with flat top  -  to which they attach a date of 1950s.


Edited by PaulS, 30 November 2017 - 15:06.


#7 eachan

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 17:09

Cob is right in saying it's a Biro product.  I haven't seen one of these in a long time so I can't be absolutely certain, but I think this pen is a twist filler, not a leverless.  I don't think these things are capable of repair.  Poor quality and cheaply made.  The nib is the only thing worth keeping.


Regards,

Eachan


#8 PaulS

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 19:48

apologies if my words appeared to be doubting Cob's comments  -  I wasn't questioning his identification at all  -  in comparison with many here I'm very new to most of this subject  -  M.T./Swan especially perhaps.           That's two of us now suggesting a twist filler - so that does look to be likely.            You may well be correct, and the York may well have been a pen made cheaply -  but 25/- (twenty five shillings  -  one pound and five shillings) was not a cheap retail price c. 1956.

I see that Marshall & Oldfield also comment  .......    "  .........  simple to restore provided the button does not need to be replaced."      Whether that means if you've lost one or if it's damaged  -  then you're up the creek  - I'm not sure :) 

I won't even begin to quote what they say about button replacement - it sounds complex and there looks to be the need to make a special set of tools.

I wouldn't bin the pen - too interesting for that  -  it will remain in the collection and perhaps in the light of experience I might have a go one day.



#9 mitto

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 01:44

I don't see any difference between the leverless and the twist filler.

The movemement of the the twist button is perfectly ok, Paul. It does not need to come out more than it is showing in your picture. Just clean the pen, resac it and let it get going. :)

Ohh, and enjoy writing with that hell of a nib.
Khan

#10 Cob

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 12:20

Hullo again.

 

Here is a snap of a pair of pressure bars.  At the top one suitable for a Swan with the later type leverless system that uses these as opposed to the earlier paddle type that was patented in 1932 and continued up to the first of the 'torpedo 'shaped pens.  The rounded tip makes installation of the section easier.  I have occasionally got away with the other type which may be found in various button fillers such as Parkers, National Security, Mentmore &c.  The problem with fitting this type which is easily available, to a Swan, is the tendency of the end to snag in the turn mechanism causing twisting of the sac and very often a mangling of the pressure bar.

 

fpn_1512130726__pressure_bars.jpg

 

Cob


Edited by Cob, 01 December 2017 - 12:22.

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


#11 eachan

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 12:35

If it's a twist filler like the Warwick, it's very different from the Leverless.  The sac is directly twisted by the button.  There is no pressure bar.


Regards,

Eachan


#12 mitto

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 14:03

If it's a twist filler like the Warwick, it's very different from the Leverless.  The sac is directly twisted by the button.  There is no pressure bar.



The 'leverless' is a Mabie Todd proprietery filling system in which:

"A metal blade, positioned accentrically in the barrel and attached to a rotating knob at the end of the barrel, squeezes the sac.

To Fill: Rotate the barrel end knob counterclockwise against the resistance of the TWISTING [emphasis mine] sac until it stops. Do not force further! Immerse nib and part of section into ink. Rotate knob clockwise until it stops. Wait five seconds. Remove the pen from ink and clean."

http://www.richardsp...ers/fillers.htm

So the Mabie Todd leverless actually is a twist filling system. :)

Edited by mitto, 01 December 2017 - 14:16.

Khan

#13 PaulS

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 15:05

yes, that's correct for the leverless pens  -  as you say, there's a pressure bar attached to a cam which is attached to a short left hand thread which locates in the button.    Turning the button c/clockwise does the necessary and twists the sac -  a necked replacement is recommended.

My problem with this button bar pen is that I don't know what has in fact gone wrong  -  quite why the button refuses to tighten up flush to the barrel end is presently a mystery  - neither do I think the button turns to its full capacity.          Repair of the button bar system makes renovation of a leverless look like child's play.

As mentioned I am in fact minus the actual pressure bar for this pen - although that can be replaced without too much difficulty I think.

 

Anyway thanks to all for the help and suggestions  -  and apologies to Khan that he won't be seeing the results of this nib any time soon. :D 



#14 Cob

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 16:28

The 'leverless' is a Mabie Todd proprietery filling system in which:

"A metal blade, positioned accentrically in the barrel and attached to a rotating knob at the end of the barrel, squeezes the sac.

To Fill: Rotate the barrel end knob counterclockwise against the resistance of the TWISTING [emphasis mine] sac until it stops. Do not force further! Immerse nib and part of section into ink. Rotate knob clockwise until it stops. Wait five seconds. Remove the pen from ink and clean."

http://www.richardsp...ers/fillers.htm

So the Mabie Todd leverless actually is a twist filling system. :)

No - or well, yes: that's the 1932 patent to which I referred earlier.  The sac is not twisted, it is compressed by the paddle.  It was not used in the later Leverless pens.  Once again, in these the pressure bar is compressed by the action of a screw mechanism at the end of the barrel.  The bar compresses the sac, much more efficiently in fact than does the admittedly simpler paddle system.

 

The fact that the mechanism in the York does not appear to return is most likely indicative of the sadly inferior quality of the Biro Swan production which as I have pointed out earlier, is somewhat insubstantial compared with the genuine Mabie Todd article.

 

Finally Eachan observes that the sac is actually twisted in these late types; I have never, as I said, seen a York or warwick pen.  If this be the case, then there must be a means for attaching the sac at the twisting end.  what form such an arrangement might take, i have no idea at all!

 

Cob


Edited by Cob, 01 December 2017 - 16:39.

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


#15 eachan

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 19:31

The 'leverless' is a Mabie Todd proprietery filling system in which:

"A metal blade, positioned accentrically in the barrel and attached to a rotating knob at the end of the barrel, squeezes the sac.

To Fill: Rotate the barrel end knob counterclockwise against the resistance of the TWISTING [emphasis mine] sac until it stops. Do not force further! Immerse nib and part of section into ink. Rotate knob clockwise until it stops. Wait five seconds. Remove the pen from ink and clean."

http://www.richardsp...ers/fillers.htm

So the Mabie Todd leverless actually is a twist filling system. :)

 

I don't regard the leverless as a twist filler.  The sac is compressed by the paddle, whereas in a twist filler the sac is rotated until all the air is squeezed out, enabling it to draw ink in as it returns to its original shape.


Regards,

Eachan


#16 mitto

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 19:36

I don't regard the leverless as a twist filler.  The sac is compressed by the paddle, whereas in a twist filler the sac is rotated until all the air is squeezed out, enabling it to draw ink in as it returns to its original shape.


In the leverless the sac is not only compressrd but both compressed ant rotated / twisted.
Khan

#17 Cob

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 08:29

In the leverless the sac is not only compressrd but both compressed ant rotated / twisted.

I cannot agree with this, simply because the paddle does not rotate sufficiently to cause anything that might be described as "twisting".  For this one would have to look at such exotica as the VT Visofils or the very rare New York Visofil - at least as far as Swans are concerned.

 

Cob


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


#18 PaulS

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 11:59

Using a light source, and peering down the barrel of a M.T. 'leverless' - whilst turning the button - it becomes apparent why this filling design has been described as 'less efficient than a standard lever fill system'.       Deforming or perhaps distorting, might be more appropriate words to describe what goes on in the darkness of a barrel - but it was deemed good enough at the time and was used for some years - leverless pens remain quite common, but less so than lever fill pens.

Hadn't realized, but seems I have another example of a button bar,  the barrel imprint reading  "M.T. & Co. Made in England", with the swan logo in the centre - pictures of pen attached.              Is it the case that all these 'button bar' pens are Biro Swan products  -  despite the M.T. wording on the barrel??           The 'York' model at the beginning of this thread lacked any barrel imprint - just the chalk marks as shown.   

 

On this second button bar pen, with its triple cap rings and rounded button, the shape is perhaps a little more reminiscent of the M.T. leverless pen design, although clip and stud are different.           Also this second example shows more of how the mechanics of a button bar are supposed to look  .....    the section has a 'flat' on the threads where the pressure bar locates and would be captive during filling  ............    also the button shows plastic over an internal aluminium casing.          

These body parts seem an improvement over the all plastic button showing on the first pen - so perhaps that pen was a later even cheaper model?              Tempting perhaps to wonder if the lack of a 'flat' on the section threads of the first pen, is reason to think that section was a replacement, not original to the York pen  -  perhaps without that 'flat' the pressure bar would not have been captive to enable the pen to fill properly.               What, if any, model name this second example might have had, I've no idea  -  it may once have had chalk marks too - but now nothing.

 

My criticism is that that too many black pens were made  -  some colours need to come my way. 

  

Attached Images

  • M.T. Button Bar - 1.jpg
  • M.T. Button Bar - 2.jpg


#19 eachan

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 15:12

If the correct sac is used and fitted properly, and the user gives the pen a full ten seconds to finish filling, the Leverless takes on more ink than you might think.  Mabie Todd wouldn't have managed to sell thousands of them over many years if they were hopelessly inefficient.


Regards,

Eachan


#20 Cob

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 07:10

Using a light source, and peering down the barrel of a M.T. 'leverless' - whilst turning the button - it becomes apparent why this filling design has been described as 'less efficient than a standard lever fill system'.       Deforming or perhaps distorting, might be more appropriate words to describe what goes on in the darkness of a barrel - but it was deemed good enough at the time and was used for some years - leverless pens remain quite common, but less so than lever fill pens.

Hadn't realized, but seems I have another example of a button bar,  the barrel imprint reading  "M.T. & Co. Made in England", with the swan logo in the centre - pictures of pen attached.              Is it the case that all these 'button bar' pens are Biro Swan products  -  despite the M.T. wording on the barrel??           The 'York' model at the beginning of this thread lacked any barrel imprint - just the chalk marks as shown.   

 

On this second button bar pen, with its triple cap rings and rounded button, the shape is perhaps a little more reminiscent of the M.T. leverless pen design, although clip and stud are different.           Also this second example shows more of how the mechanics of a button bar are supposed to look  .....    the section has a 'flat' on the threads where the pressure bar locates and would be captive during filling  ............    also the button shows plastic over an internal aluminium casing.          

These body parts seem an improvement over the all plastic button showing on the first pen - so perhaps that pen was a later even cheaper model?              Tempting perhaps to wonder if the lack of a 'flat' on the section threads of the first pen, is reason to think that section was a replacement, not original to the York pen  -  perhaps without that 'flat' the pressure bar would not have been captive to enable the pen to fill properly.               What, if any, model name this second example might have had, I've no idea  -  it may once have had chalk marks too - but now nothing.

 

My criticism is that that too many black pens were made  -  some colours need to come my way. 

  

That is a proper Mabie Todd swan - though a late one as shown by the clip design.  The filler knob also marks it out thought this was not a satisfactory design making gripping ti awkward in my view.  The difference on quality between this and the York model should be immediately apparent just in handling the pen.

 

And as Eachan says, one must fit a good-sized sac to the paddle leverlesses; as stated, then they will hold plenty of ink.

 

Cob


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




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