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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love antiques. I just do. I adore them. It was only natural that my attention would be drawn towards vintage and antique fountain pens, which are my passion in life.

However, I don't think anything could have prepared me for finding THIS at the flea-market today, for just $60. Behold:



In the pocket-watch board, people pride themselves on the ages, conditions and aesthetics of their pocket watches. Here, I figure we should do the same with our fine fountain pens. Like this marvellous curiosity:



I very nearly passed up on this gem at the market. I'm so glad that I bought it, knowing that it was going to a safe and loving home.



"Yeah yeah yeah...WHAT THE HELL IS IT, ALREADY!?", you scream.

Frankly, I'm not too sure, either.

It is a Mabie Todd & Co "Swan" fountain pen. A BCHR (Black Chased Hard Rubber) eyedropper-fill double-feed fountain pen with a slip-on cap from the late 19th century, or so my research has led me to believe. The cap is original to the pen and it has "A.E.E." beautifully engraved on the cap-band. Exactly who "A.E.E." is, I've no idea. But he sure had a nice pen.

I'm currently trying to restore this pen to working condition; something that is proving decidedly tricky. Whoever thought that the most simple fountain pen in the world would be the hardest to fix!? As for how old it is, I really couldn't say. My research tells me it could've been made anywhere from 1880 to 1910. Threaded caps came in in the 1910s so I don't think it's older than that, and the "Swan" model of pen started coming in in the 1890s, but the decorative gold cap-jewellery has been found on Mabie Todd & Co pens dating back to the early 1880s. So this pen might've been made at any point in that entire timespan of thirty years or so. Still trying to track down just how old it is.

Getting this pen back to working condition is proving...interesting. The threaded section, which is unscrewed so that you can fill the barrel with ink, is well and truly jammed on because of, I think, a barrelful of ink that someone carelessly did not empty from the pen before storing it. The ink has dried and jammed up the entire thing. I'm soaking the pen in a glass of water to try and loosen it up and flush out the ink. It's been going for ten hours now, and while I've had enough ink flushed out to fill up a bottle of the stuff, the pen refuses to co-operate with me and open up. Maybe I'll have more luck tomorrow. I'm gonna leave the pen to soak overnight and test it again tomorrow morning.

At any rate, I thought you fellows might like to see this and enjoy it.
 

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Wow! Incredible find! The best (and only, so far) fountain pen I've found in a shop is a Parker 51. Usually pretty common, but this was a US made pen with a bold nib - not so common.

I would suggest sending yours off to a professional restorer like Richard Binder or Ron Zorn or John Mottishaw. Those guys really know what they're doing and I know it make me feel a whole more comfortable letting them do the work rather than trying it myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Dannzeman,

24 hours of soaking in cool water with some soap, and behold the results:



 

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Awesome! Looks like you saved a lotta time and some money as well.
There's nothing more rewarding than doing the work yourself, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi,

Yes I have. I have a fair bit of experience restoring and repairing my own vintage fountain pens, so I save money not having to send them out to other people to get them fixed. I had to ask for advice from some pen-restorers to get THIS particular pen going (I wasn't going to risk my mildly-experienced hands on this!), and with their guidance, I got it working!
 
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