Jump to content
Classifieds is broken, please do not submit any new ads ×

Mabie Todd Swan, Another Identification Question.


Recommended Posts

I know a little about the Mabie Todd brand, but haven't been able to find a single go-to page for information on their models over the years, and am wondering where this one fits in. I just cleaned it up and put a new sac in it, and it's a pretty nice little pen except for a pronounced tendency to nib creep. Might be better with a different ink (I'm using Namiki Blue), but never mind that now. Here's what it looks like.






On the flat end of the barrel, the number 54 is visible above the letters ETN. Along the barrel, their are three lines of text.


"Swan" Self Filling Pen

Mabie Todd & Co., New York,

Pats Jan. 26 04 May 21 18 Pat Pdg


The word "Eternal" also appears at right angles to the above, part way around the circumference of the barrel. The nib has the writing "Swan" Eternal 4, 14 Ct, Mab Todd & Co.


From the 1918 patent, I'm guessing that this is from the years of decline of the U.S. company, but it's a pretty nice looking pen. The only real manufacturing flaw I can find is with the cap. There are three breather holes, two of them are not punched out completely, and there are still nubs of plastic (celluloid) left in the middle.


This is the first lever filler I've seen without a springbar. The pressure bar hangs on a pivot from the lever. The lever has a hook on the other end that latches it into place when closed. It works quite well. I filled this from ink that had been transferred to a vial in order to get a rough measurement, and it took in a milliliter.


The nib writes a line somewhere on the border of fine and medium, it has no particular flex. It's writing a bit dry, I may try spreading the tines a little.


It's a fairly short pen; I have to post it to write with it comfortably.


Anyway, I'm curious to know about when this pen was made, and anything else interesting about it. And if somebody knows of a good reference page for Mabie Todd models, that would be good too.

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."


- Benjamin Franklin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • Replies 2
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • MarcShiman


  • ISW_Kaputnik


Top Posters In This Topic

You basically named it - its a Swan Eternal 54 in Jade. Judging by the cap band, it came towards the end of the Eternal series, so its an early 30's pen.


The 5 indicates its a vest-pocket pen, and the four is the nib size (and the barrel girth). The "eternal" designation indicates it was part of their higher end of Swan pens, as the eternal nibs were thicker and, as you've come to realized, without as much flex as other nibs of theirs. It was intended to compete with the Sheaffer Lifetime and Wahl Gold Seal.


From a standpoint of company size, you are correct that Mabie Todd was probably shrinking in size, but this is very much top of the line in terms of quality. The decline in quality started around the mid-30's, and coincided with their pens becoming more streamlined (homage to the Balance).


What's remarkable about that pen is the size of the #4 nib. Swan's nibs are extraordinarily large, and for a vest pocket pen, their four size nib... well, its one big honking nib. They actually made a 56 pen, but I've never seen it in Jade. The standard size pen similar to yours would be a 44.


There aren't many websites that discuss Mabie Todd - there is one that looks at British Mabie Todd, and www.mabie-todd.com comes out of David Moak's great book "Mabie in America" which is unfortunately out of print (although its not hard to find used copies on the internet). The American and British Mabie Todds shared parts earlier in their existence, but as the British Mabie Todd went on to big growth in the 30's and 40's, the American Mabie Todd went into decline in the 30's and ceased operations at the end of the 30's. There is very little information (believe me, I've searched) for mid-30's Mabie Todd and later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the information, this sort of detail is always appreciated. I had one other answer on another forum, less detailed, but still increasing my knowledge.


Since the original post, I spread the tines slightly, which not only made this a very nice writer indeed, but also somehow reduced the nib creep.

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do."


- Benjamin Franklin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Most Contributions

    1. amberleadavis
    2. PAKMAN
    3. Ghost Plane
      Ghost Plane
    4. jar
    5. wimg
  • Upcoming Events

  • Blog Comments

    • Matthew TWP
      @Ruaidhri This was an absolutely wonderful bit of writing, and I hope that you're able to maintain the style once all of the medications are out of your system.  Take care and recover quickly!
    • Dr.X
      Very punny daniel
    • danielfalgerho
      These comments make me sad as I sympathise with Ruaidhri, having great difficulties in being taken seriously. Or being taken at all (no off-colors jokes, please!) In spite of overwhelming odds,  Ruaidhri -now I know how to spell it- made a courageous decision and stuck to it. I was diagnosed with a similar growth in a place I will not reveal. Oh, well, if you insist it was Mount Sinai Hospital. But I firmly intend to walk in Ruaidhri's footsteps, if he will let me, on my next visit to Dublin.
    • ParramattaPaul
      Reminds me of the day my associates and I developed a cure for all mankind's ills and mistakenly wrote it down with invisible ink.
    • AnneD
      Was that the end of the Laboratory? Somehow the exactitude created a fully destructive device, as always!
  • Chatbox

    You don't have permission to chat.
    Load More
  • Expiring Soon

    • By benbot517
      51 years and 11 months
    • By benbot517
      51 years and 11 months
    • By benbot517
      51 years and 11 months
    • By Okami
      51 years and 11 months
    • By Okami
      51 years and 11 months
  • Random Adverts

    • By cfyoung
      51 years and 11 months
    • By chumpowie
      51 years and 11 months
    • By Mongoosey
      51 years and 11 months
    • By JNeffLind
      51 years and 11 months
    • By dboulonnais
  • Files

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. Armand K
      Armand K
      (39 years old)
    2. BKJ
      (61 years old)
    3. charleydido
      (76 years old)
    4. concord2000
      (69 years old)
    5. Denibird

  • Create New...