Mabie Todd Blackbird


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

This Model 39 Blackbird, a lever-filler, is from 1933, probably plus/minus a couple of years. It is standard length, 12.4cm capped, and a hair wider than 1cm wide just below the cap edge; the pen also tapers gently from the cap edge to the base of the barrel. Although quite plain in its lack of cap rings and crown adornments, this pen is unusually attractive in densely mottled grey and black with bright red pieces, a pattern that is not seen often. It is also in nearly perfect condition, with no scratches, nicks, or other marks. Its clip is distinctively Blackbird, with a deeply engraved bird in flight. The standard Mabie Todd/Blackbird imprint is deep and complete, as is the “BB 2B 39” model imprint in the barrel’s base. The nib is a Blackbird, marked “14C M&T Co”. It writes a full wet medium with a some flex; it has a bit of singing feedback. Finally, the pen comes in what is probably its original Blackbird box!

Price: $140 Sold

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