A beautiful early Swan eyedropper c1900 – 1905 in black hard rubber with gold filled repoussé barrel overlay.
The pen has a crisp Swan logo on the cap and a full maker’s imprint on the overlay:
“The Swan Pen - Mabie Todd & Bard - New York and patent dates for 1882 and 1888.
The nib is a broad stub with under-over feed, a soft smooth and very flexible writer. The feed has the twisted wire, unique to MT&B at this time and this works well, ensuring a seamless flow of ink to the nib.
There is an owner imprint in the indicia, “Robert Fussey Hull”. The pen comes with the original leather sleeve imprinted “Mabie Todd & Bard” with addreses in Cheapside and Regent Street, London and Exchange Street, Manchester. This triggered me to do some research into the likely history of the pen. The indicia is engraved not only with the original owner's name but his town as well: 'ROBERT FUSSEY HULL". There was a Robert Fussey living in Hull around 1900 and indeed a younger Robert Fussey born around this time as well. And it appears there is still at least one Robert Fussey living in the Hull area today. It is likely that the pen was bought at the Mabie Todd & Bard shop in nearby Manchester.
The "golden age" of fountain pens is said to be the 1920s and 1930s and certainly this is the volume age of the fountain pen. But the peak of craftsmanship was the eye-dropper period when the best pens were as much jewellery as writing instruments. This pen is a fine example.
Condition: excellent; The beautiful repoussé gold filled overlay is in crisp and unbrassed condition. The BHR cap and section have faded and there are some tool marks on the end of the section, but are otherwise in excellent condition with a crisp Swan logo on the cap. The stub nib has lots or tipping and writes very smoothly. I have taken the pen apart and cleaned the components.
Price: $225, £160, €185 plus postage:
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