Blackbird

1954-58

About This Model

Mabie Todd was one of the oldest manufacturers of fountain pens, having started in the 1860’s in New York with pen holders and pencil cases. Their first true Swan fountain pen was brought out in 1884, featuring a nib with an over-under feed and ink feed via a twisted silver wire. British production began in 1907, and it soon far outgrew American results. Soon Swans became, with Conway Stewarts, top selling English fountain pens, with Leverless and SelfFiller models following throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s. Mabie Todd also produced Blackbirds, as a second level pen. Blackbirds were usually a bit more plain and less adorned than Swans, but made equally well, and generally used the same nibs with Blackbird markings. Their history parallels Swan's, with growth, innovation, and senescence at the same times. Like Conway Stewart, Mabie Todd produced a huge variety of pen colors and color combinations, each with a distinct model designation that can make specific identification tricky. With most of the English fountain pen industry, Mabie Todd declined after WWII, and finally disappeared in the late 1950’s.

About This Pen

Blackbirds were made by Mabie Todd, and in their heyday were generally considered to be good pens but a step down from Swans. The company was purchased by Biro in 1952, and there is very little definitive information about what they produced after that.  It is probable that this pen is from 1954-58, so it is a Biro, not a Mabie Todd, although there is a faint “Mabie Todd” imprint at, curiously, the base of the barrel under the cap. It is 13cm long, a lever-filler, with a green marbled plastic barrel and chased (stamped) chrome cap. The gold plated clip is riveted into the crown, and imprinted with “Blackbird”. Its probably gold-plated nib is marked “Blackbird”.  It’s a nice writer, producing a wet medium line with a touch of flex. An enjoyable little pen. 

Price: $40 Sold

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