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Vintage Swan with #6 nib: Need help identifying and finding a restorer

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Disclaimer: I am new to vintage fountain pens. 


I recently acquired a Mabie Todd Swan (photos of the pen and some scribbles below) and would appreciate assistance with the following items:


  1. I know very little about this pen and would like to learn about its provenance, approximate age, model and comparison with other Swan models, etc.
  2. The body of the pen is marked "Eternal" but the nib is not.  Does this mean that the current nib replaced the original?
  3. The pen is a very nice writer once the ink is flowing; it can feel very smooth, provides nice line-width variation as the nib is flexible and I think stub-ish, and it lays down a lot of ink.  At the same time, it's prone to hard starts and occasionally skips.  It also looks like the feed might not be properly aligned with the nib.  I would like to have the nib examined and tuned by a professional and was thinking of sending it to Mike Masuyama.  Does this seem appropriate, or are there other nib experts I should consider?
  4. I would like to have the body of the pen cleaned up and restored prior to getting the nib worked on, but I have no idea who to send it to.  Any recommendations?  In particular, I would like to have some luster restored to the body, have the fins of the feed looked at as they seem to have some minor damage, and have it cleaned up (the pen has a bit of a smell which, although gradually dissipating, remains pretty strong inside the cap).
  5. The tip of the nib looks a bit slanted to me.  I know only so much is possible with photos, but can anyone tell if it's because this nib has an oblique grind or if it's some sort of alignment issue?


















Edited by Gaussian
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Posted (edited)

Adding a few photos of the front of the nib, in case it's diagnostically useful.  Also want to add that, along with Mike Masuyama, I am considering Greg Minuskin for the nib tuning/repair as I've seen his name brought up frequently.  But again, I have no idea which of them specializes more in vintage nibs, or if there's someone else I should consider.



Edited by Gaussian
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looks like a great pen worth saving - there is a nib/feed misalignment

for restoration - why not try ron zorn?  he is a moderator here on fpn


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I also think if you need a US repairer then @Ron Z would be a good choice to repair this pen. The nib and feed do look misaligned and the nib doesn't look like an oblique nib.

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Regarding your desire for more luster, please go easy on the polishing and don't let anyone buff it on a wheel or put wax on it. Against my very specific instructions, a well-known repairer in NM decided to buff the heck out of a couple of my pens (sent for clip work) and the once crisp imprints became faint, barely perceptible markings.

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I, too, would recommend Ron Zorn over the mentioned choices.
Especially considering this is a vintage pen that cannot be easily replaced.

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1.  This is a Swan Eternal #6 size in fantastic condition. The trim is in nearly perfect condition, minimal wear.  It is from the 1920s.  model 46 ETN in black hard rubber.  This is a large pen. There is a larger #8 size, but it is uncommon.

2.  The nib should be marked Eternal.  This nib is not "correct" for the pen, but it is the correct era and size. You never know if someone way back hated the Eternal nib, which is (nearly) always rigid, and preferred the classic Swan nib, which is springy and usually has nice line width variation.  This misalignment to the feed also indicates that it is a replacement. The factory would not sent it out like that.

3.  The nib needs such a minor tweak almost anyone could do it with their fingernails at a pen show.  The alignment of the feed and nib is off a bit.  The most likely issue with the hard start and skipping is old dried ink in the feed.

4. A standard restoration would include a gentle polish, which is all this needs to really "pop."  Someone needs to clean the old dried gunky ink from the cap, possibly run the nib and feed through an ultrasonic cleaner, and put in a new sac.  This is all part of a basic pen service.  You do not need a nib expert from what I can tell. 

5.  It is hard to answer the nib question with the dried ink on it.  I don't think it is oblique. It might just be worn a bit from usage and it is worn to the angle of the user's hand.


The pen needs a basic service.  pentiques is good and fast.  Ink-pen is great for service.  Save the other guys for more complex jobs.



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I agree with Greenie ... on all but one point.


Good luck OP with the restoration!

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44 minutes ago, crescentfiller said:

I agree with Greenie ... on all but one point.


Good luck OP with the restoration!

Well now you have me so curious about WHICH point!  DM me and let me know.  Or tell the OP. There are a lot of acceptable differences in opinion! That is why they call them opinions.

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Thank you, everyone, for the helpful information.  I have a much better sense of how to proceed now.  I will most likely post an update here once I've had it restored.


@Greenie I think, based on @crescentfiller's first post, that he is being polite to a third party by having us read between the lines here. :) 

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  • 3 months later...

Greg Minuskin is my go-to guy for tricky work, but for this pen you could do worse than the lovely folks at Pentiques.

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