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Review: The " Swan " Pen/ The Fountain Pen Used By Professor James Moriarty Revisited



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On 1st October 2012,I wrote the "The Fountain Pen Used By Professor James Moriarty" at the section of "Picture & Pen Photography". At that time I watched the movie "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" by Warner Bros. Pictures and Road Show Entertainment,momentary I was drawn intention on the Professor James Moriarty's writing instrument,in my mind: "Is this a fountain pen?".

 

8042831665_c8c8e9303d_o.png

I. At the scene,Professor James Moriarty sign on his book during the tour at Paris,France.

 

8042831523_45e6984d08_o.png

II. At the scene,Colonel Sebastian Moran passed him this paper note before the ticket of Paris Opera for Don Giovanni.

 

8042842196_7c130669f9_o.png

III. At the scene of weapons factory in Heilbronn,Germany.Holmes was captured,Professor Moriarty ask Holmes,"Who was it sent to?"The telegram that Watson sent to Mycroft.

 

After these 3 pictures shown,it is quite obvious,isn't?A fountain pen,maybe I should start do research about it,perhaps?Couple month later,after check all the fountain pen collectors book and materials I can get,the progress still zero.Without despair,I keep going on research,surfing at Internet,"google" and type in almost the fountain pen brands that stuck in my head and flows it all out.Similar to Archimedes once he found out the "Archimedes' Principle",cry out loud,"Eureka!",whilst Archimedes actually forgotten to dress and get excited by his discover,eventually walked on the streets naked.

 

"It is a Swan!"

 

So the clue is evidently,finally I found a blog that tell a lots story about that pen.The blogger is a pen collector and restoration,known as Deborah or redripple52 in eBay.The pen's barrel marked 'THE "SWAN" PEN',known as "Chatelaine",a ladies' pen,eyedropper,manufactured by Mabie Todd & Co.Her collection was a 102 years old pen,tells from a commercial paper shown by her.

 

14119518309_6eda52fa8c_o.jpg

IV. A Mabie Todd & Co.'s commercial paper,taken from Deborah.

 

For me,it is hard to tell the pen is made in 1910,unless the proven from any document or paperwork.Product of "Swan" fountain pens appears to begin in 1890,Mabie Todd & Bard reverted to Mabie,Todd & Co. around 1907,when it was incorporated in New York.[1]

 

The earliest model is made from 1900,so I throw out a question: "The movie Sherlock Holmes:A Game of Shadows plot was set in 1891.So,could this pen produce at the time around 1891?"

 

My favorite most reply is from Beechwood,"When fiction becomes truth then all things are possible.",he say.

 

True indeed,after a month later,a lady replied.She is call Jadie,what surprised me is,she bought the exact same pen from Deborah,the owner of the blog I found most of the story about the pen.And I tell Jadie,I'm going to get such pen on reply.

 

Almost 6 month passed,in 21th May 2013,I decided to write a message to Jadie to propose on purchase the pen.She replied,"It's very interesting you should PM now, because last night I was just organizing my pens to sell for funding a new pen purchase. Fate works in funny ways."Then I let her to make an offer,honestly,fair price to me.She shipped out the pen to me before payment,it's shocked me,which I promised to pay on 1st of June 2013.And there's happened some trouble on payment and finally done it after received the pen 4 days later.

 

I felt grateful and thankful that she trust on me,and I owned this pen!Now I'd belong this pen for a years and still haven't write a review,but without a decent quality camera,I'm going ruin the picture of this pen.In addition of slack and busy,delay for a years.

 

Here it's ladies and gentleman,proudly presents :

 

14305827175_8fdc03a45e_o.jpg

 

14282676956_b27abb16ab_o.jpg

 

14310824584_953d40ed8b_o.jpg

 

This pinhole actually make the ink dry.

14124796080_a9276a24d1_o.jpg

 

 

A writing sample,Pelikan 4001 Black Ink:

14124987740_ba47462be6_o.png

 

For me it's suitable for writing at home or office where the ink were around with.The ink dry easily,carrying a ink bottle with,this style sounds like Colonel Hans Landa,from the Tarantino's movie.The pen same as Jadie described to me in reply,"a very slim and delicate pen with nice flex.But...I thought it was designed with ladies in mind?"However,Professor James Moriarty use this pen as well,in the movie scene.

 

The pen's barrel marked: A Swan's logo front of these word,

THE "SWAN" PEN

MABIE TODD&CO

NEW YORK,U.S.A.

 

As David Moak said,around 1907 Mabie Todd & Bard reverted to Mabie,Todd & Co. and incorporated in New York.So,the pen is after 1907,or maybe Deborah was right?

 

Thank you for reading this,hope you all enjoy!

 

 

[1] Mabie Todd in America: Writing Instruments from 1843 to 1941,in various iterations on CD-ROM,David Moak.

Edited by NathanLow
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  • NathanLow

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  • Cepasaccus

    9

  • Alex2014

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  • TheModernGent

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TheModernGent

testing picture uploads?

http://img525.imageshack.us/img525/606/letterji9.png

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inkstainedruth

That's a very attractive pen. What type of fill system does it have?

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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That's a very attractive pen. What type of fill system does it have?

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

 

Hi Ruth,the pen is an eyedropper,which I'm not familiar with.

I tried insert the ink into ink reservoir before,ink flows with a bit sluggish.

Maybe the pinhole in the top of the cap,make the ink easy to dry off,so I decided to write it like a dip pen eventually.

I think,I need more tips and suggestion from expert.

 

Regards.

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Scribblesoften

The fountainpenrevolution site has a good tutorial on how to fill and prime eyedropper pens. That is a beautiful pen and a nice article.

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The fountainpenrevolution site has a good tutorial on how to fill and prime eyedropper pens. That is a beautiful pen and a nice article.

 

Hi Scribblesoften,

Thank you for sharing the site,need do more effort on it.

Regards.

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I'm so glad this pen is getting the attention it deserves in your hands. Hope it brings you joy for many more years to come. =)

Sheen junkie, flex nib enthusiast, and all-around lover of fountain pens...

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I'm so glad this pen is getting the attention it deserves in your hands. Hope it brings you joy for many more years to come. =)

 

My pleasure,Jadie.

 

Best regards.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The &Co does not exclude a date before 1907 as &Co and Bard were used at the same time.

 

The patent of the feed seems to be http://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/pdfs/US426692.pdf which was filed in 1889. So that is the lower boundary. But I have a Mabie Todd &Co with patent dates from 1887-1889 and without the "Swan" trademark. It is rather long and thin. So I asume that anything with "Swan" on it is not from the earliest years of production.

 

I have also a pen like yours with &Co Ltd which has to be from 1915 and later. It has a patent dated 1902 engraved on the cap band, which I asume is for the chatelaine cap mechanism. So this would also raise the earliest production date of your pen.

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I have an almost identical pen (also by Swan, also with a double-feed) and the gold cap, but without the chain on top. You're very lucky to have that pen - it will be an excellent writer - mine is!

http://www.throughouthistory.com/ - My Blog on History & Antiques

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The &Co does not exclude a date before 1907 as &Co and Bard were used at the same time.

 

The patent of the feed seems to be http://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/pdfs/US426692.pdf which was filed in 1889. So that is the lower boundary. But I have a Mabie Todd &Co with patent dates from 1887-1889 and without the "Swan" trademark. It is rather long and thin. So I asume that anything with "Swan" on it is not from the earliest years of production.

 

I have also a pen like yours with &Co Ltd which has to be from 1915 and later. It has a patent dated 1902 engraved on the cap band, which I asume is for the chatelaine cap mechanism. So this would also raise the earliest production date of your pen.

 

Cepasaccus,

 

Hello,the pdf that you share are amazing,I finally understand how it's work,and helps a lot!At the same time,thank you for sharing these information.

 

Best regards.

Edited by NathanLow
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I have an almost identical pen (also by Swan, also with a double-feed) and the gold cap, but without the chain on top. You're very lucky to have that pen - it will be an excellent writer - mine is!

 

Shangas,

 

Hello,I think we both too,lucky indeed.Glad to know you enjoy the pen as well.

 

Best regards.

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I do have an old Mabie Todd which has exactly the feed you have:

http://www.penexchange.de/forum_neu/viewtopic.php?p=78133#p78133

I assume it is still rather old, because it is long and thin and mentions nowhere "Swan" or any model name or number. It has a patent date of "1877.8.9" on it, but the only patent I have found suitable for this pen is the mentioned patent from 1889/90. Maybe there is a typo and it should have read "1877.89" (although I know no suitable patent from 1877). Even so it seems rather old the feed is not exactly like that in the patent because the feed is only split inside the front piece and not beyond of it. It has a really wonderful nib, but the ink flow is not really consistent and the old slip cap makes it unusable as an EDC.

 

Then I have a Perry pen:

http://www.penexchange.de/forum_neu/viewtopic.php?p=83342#p83342

This has a feed excactly matching the named patent.

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I do have an old Mabie Todd which has exactly the feed you have:

http://www.penexchange.de/forum_neu/viewtopic.php?p=78133#p78133

I assume it is still rather old, because it is long and thin and mentions nowhere "Swan" or any model name or number. It has a patent date of "1877.8.9" on it, but the only patent I have found suitable for this pen is the mentioned patent from 1889/90. Maybe there is a typo and it should have read "1877.89" (although I know no suitable patent from 1877). Even so it seems rather old the feed is not exactly like that in the patent because the feed is only split inside the front piece and not beyond of it. It has a really wonderful nib, but the ink flow is not really consistent and the old slip cap makes it unusable as an EDC.

 

Then I have a Perry pen:

http://www.penexchange.de/forum_neu/viewtopic.php?p=83342#p83342

This has a feed excactly matching the named patent.

Cepasaccus,

 

I know there is a quite complete profile for Swan pens,it could explained why your old Mabie Todd pen without engrave of "Swan". The article was wrote in Italian,perhaps Google translate would help.

 

http://www.fountainpen.it/Swan

 

As the article said,"The name Swan was introduce as a trademark since about 1890 [1] as a symbol of grace and elegance, and was used for the higher-end pens."(Il nome Swan venne introdotto come marchio di fabbrica a partire all'incirca dal1890,[1] come simbolo di grazia ed eleganza, e veniva utilizzato per le penne di fascia più alta.)

 

I think there is another earlier patent similar with the patent in 1889,claimed by William W. Stewart in 1884,described as "feed-pipe".http://www.fountainpen.it/images/1/1e/Patent-US-314547.pdf

 

I would assume the patent in 1889 which William W. Stewart described it as "key",is a improving of the patent in 1884.

 

Here is my pen "key":

 

14632531764_2d03400886_o.jpg

 

14611676786_2824a52a0c_o.jpg

 

I don't fill ink into reservoir,as you said,"the ink flow is not really consistent". So far,I still use it like a dip pen,and I had to agree with you,it's not a EDC to me as well.

 

Best regards.

Edited by NathanLow
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Hi Nathan!

 

As the article said,"The name Swan was introduce as a trademark since about 1890 [1] as a symbol of grace and elegance, and was used for the higher-end pens."

For a no-trademark pen this information does not help much for a pen without fancy decoration. As mine has no fancy decoration I asume it is not a higher-end pen. So it might be from before or after 1890.

 

I think there is another earlier patent similar with the patent in 1889,claimed by William W. Stewart in 1884,described as "feed-pipe".http://www.fountainpen.it/images/1/1e/Patent-US-314547.pdf

That patent is IMHO much more different from my feed than the patent from 1889. The 1884 patent has just an underfeed and no silver wire, which the 1889 patent has. The only difference between my feed and the 1889 patent is that the full cut of the feed is shorter with my feed and insted there is a channel added.

 

I don't fill ink into reservoir,as you said,"the ink flow is not really consistent". So far,I still use it like a dip pen,and I had to agree with you,it's not a EDC to me as well.

I haven't inked my chatelaine pen yet, but it has at least an advantage with the cap sitting better on the pen.

 

I just realized, that my nib has no or nearly no imprint. I think I can see halve of an E below the feed, but that's it. The nib is stuck at the moment. I'll soak it in "cleaning" ink.

 

Cepasaccus

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