Posted in Pens, Restoration

Mabie Todd Swan #42 – The Restoration

Capped, the pen measures 5-7/16” (138mm) in length, it is dirty and in need of a good cleaning. The old ink sac has been removed already – yeah. An examination of the nib shows signs that the right tine has been mistreated by a fool with a grinder, plus the tip material on the same tine is missing. Maybe that is why he used a grinder? Who knows, anyway. I contacted nib service provides and no one offer “retipping” service so I guess the pen is for looks unless I can find a new nib.

Nib before & After plus the Ladder Feed. Note the missing piece of the nib

As far as restoring goes, this was easy. The seller had gone through trouble of separating the section from the barrel, and removing the old ink sac. I just had to remove decades of grime and polish the pen. No I don’t use real polish, just the jeweler’s cloth. As usual, I started with the nib and feed. The nib polished up nicely with the Sunshine cloth. A variety of spiral brushes were needed to clean the dried ink and grime out of the feed and the ink fissures.

The lever and surrounding area were disgusting, honestly there was yuk caked up in the lever, all over the pivot bar, gumming up the lever action. I used the Sunshine cloth, toothbrush, spiral brushes, three different dental tools and still it isn’t as clean as I’d prefer. But as you can see it looks better now.

Next I polished the barrel and moved on to the cap. Using a dental pick I cleaned out the accumulated grime in the cap band etching followed by a toothbrush and Sunshine cloth. Finally, a quick rubdown with a hint of mineral oil. Very little residual ink came off and the pen looks marvelous.

I decided to skip the new ink sac, not because I can’t but because I can’t use the pen until I have the nib repaired or replaced. After another Duck-Duck-Go search, I found a couple nib retipping services. I emailed them both, one replied the next day the other has yet to reply and I assume they will not. I’ve schedule a repair for later in July. A review of the service and how the nib is writing will be a future posting. In the mean time I am also keeping an eye out for nibs, but finding 1920’s Mabie Todd nibs is as hard to find as is fountain pen nib retipping services.


I'm a loser as my wife likes to tell me, I enjoy researching dead cousins and playing with fountain pens.

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