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  1. I bought this little ringtop months ago and put it in my "to be repaired" drawer because one of the cap rings is a little bent. I came upon it last night while looking for something else, filled it and started writing. A nice little medium point, very flexy. I let a co-worker play with it and if they find me in the parking structure with a head wound and the pen gone, the cops should finger him. Here's a picture - it's a very dark blue:
  2. Hello FPN, I was wondering if someone with more vintage flex knowledge than I (which isn't much) could advise me with my newest acquisition. It is a Mabie Todd Swan SF250 circa 1937. I need to do some more research on the hallmarks stamped onto the gold bands. Upon first using the pen I noticed some quirks here and there, like dry starts at the beginning and some railroading. It also seemed to work better when holding it at a rather high angle, though then it feels a tad scratchier. After using it for a while, these problems pretty much go away entirely, as if it gets much wetter after some use. I was looking at the nib through a loupe and I noticed that the gap of the tip is a little wonky. It's a bit V shaped when looking at it head on where the tines meet. The tip of the left tine somehow seems bigger than the right, like there's more material. The gap of the tines is pretty much parallel from the hole of the nib to the tip of the tine (I thought it was supposed to be a bit more tapered towards the tip where the tines meet.) The pen seems to be in great condition otherwise, the lever works well, the gold bands aren't worn, the inscriptions are still legible, etc. But I'm wondering if this nib could be improved if I sent it to someone competent. Like I said, it seems to behave much better after it's been used for a minute or two and then it lays down a good amount of ink (quite a bit, though I am using Iroshizuku with it, which maybe is too watery?) and I can make a flex stroke from top to bottom of page without it railroading. I'm just wondering if with some adjustment I could get a bit finer line on the upstrokes and just a more consistent performance over all. On the side strokes it's about an XF/F if done fast, the diagonals or upstrokes seem more like a F/M and the downward strokes can get to 3mm (though I'm a bit paranoid of doing that very often.) Anyways, if anyone wants to throw in their two cents I'd appreciate it. Could that V issue I mentioned be something that happens with a nib that flexes that much? Does the angle become more parallel when it's flexed? That's just a random thought though. Thanks!
  3. I never know what's going to happen with an eBay auction - which is the same Principle of Inconsistant Results that makes gambling so attractive. But this time it resulted in a little green celluloid Swan ringtop - the moiré style that I've seen elsewhere for much more money. Something to look forward to.
  4. I went to the London Writing Society show today intending to come back with one or more vintage Watermans (Watermen?) - I've been saving for months, and was pretty clear what I wanted. I wanted to fill in some holes in my collection of 12 1/2 V overlays, and was hoping for one with a very flexible nib; I was also searching for a flexible stub in any model I could find. Didn't end up getting either, to my great surprise. First off, the terrific John Sorowka (Oxonian in these parts) tuned three of my pens and embarrassed me horribly with the amount of crud he found in the nib section of my Waterman 12 POC. (I'd much rather trust someone like John to disassemble a friable old BCHR pen than do it myself - as I said to him, I'm totally cack-handed and am guaranteed to snap something if it's a pen I really care about.) All three are ten times the pen they were when I put them in my pen case this morning: and John is a lovely, lovely man. Now I've met him, I'll be sending him a couple more for a regrind. Some Iroshizuku bottles caught my eye on the Write Here Pens stand. And I didn't buy any, because when I made my way over there, I found this - the Diamine Flower Set. (I thought it wasn't meant to be available until the end of the month?) Like I say, I was shopping for teeny Watermans with flexy nibs. Ray Walters (Vintage and Modern Pens) saw me testing Waterman nibs at his stand on my thumbnail, and collared me: he said he had a pen that might interest me, although it wasn't a Waterman. It's a tiny Mabie Todd Swan ringtop with a sterling silver overlay, and he handed it to me dipped so I could give it a whirl. For a Mabie Todd, it was pricey at £125, but...this nib was THE ONE. I have a couple of wet noodles already, but none are this responsive or display this much variation; and if you could marry pens and I wasn't married already, I'd be having the banns read next week. Here's the obligatory nib shot. (As good as I can manage with my phone, I'm afraid.) It is a *beautiful* writer. It's butter-smooth, gorgeously wet - and you can see the flex. My god, the flex. It's like writing with a piece of oily ribbon. Apologies for the handwriting; it's not my best effort. My hands are still a bit shaky because I'm *stupidly* excited about that nib. Do any Mabie Todd collectors here know what the model is called, and when it was in production? (It's 9.5cm long with the cap on, if that helps.) Gary Lehrer signed a copy of Waterman Past and Present for me, using one of my pens, fresh from John's tender ministrations, because he didn't have one inked. And I considered my bankroll, spent another happy hour and a half or so browsing, chatting and learning new things, before heading out for lunch with my husband (who is not a pens person, but who found himself enjoying the morning very much indeed) and back home on the train. Brilliant day. Thanks to everybody who made it happen!

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