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Maker: Mabie, Todd & Co.

From the 1932 catalogue

Information for this line is even less readily available than for the company in general.  The Blackbird was the next step down in Mabie, Todd & Co.’s lineup from the Swan.  It appeared at least as early as 1914, and appears to have continued to be available until at least the Biro buy-out in 1952, if not beyond.

While a notional step lower than the Swan, it is like that pen a sort of portmanteau “model”; there are a lot of different trim levels extant.  The standard concept of the Blackbird (for most, who if aware of Mabie, Todd at all are not right up on the minutiae) is that it is a rather dull pen with chrome trim, but it did in fact appear in a variety of colours, sporting gold trim, and sometimes even with a band on the cap.  The name Blackbird is no more limiting to the pen’s range of colours than is Swan (which I don’t believe ever appeared in a white version), and while the average Blackbird was a lesser pen than the average Swan, there was some cost overlap between them.

Blackbirds I’ve known (one day that plural usage will be correct, I hope):

Production Run: 1915 – c. 1950 (broadly; specific models may vary as noted, and with a break due to bomb-damage from c.1940  to c. 1946).

Cost When New: Noted on individual examples, where available.

Size: Ditto.

Point: 14k gold.

Body: Hard Rubber in earlier models, switching gradually to celluloid in the 1930s.

Filler: Varies, see individual examples.

Unnumbered example. Production run: c.1930 – c. 1940, based on shape and trim; no help in the (absent) markings.  Cost not currently known.  Lever filler, capacity approx. 0.9 ml.  Dimensions: capped 12.4 cm, posted 15.6 cm, uncapped 11.5 cm.

A slightly generic Mabie, Todd, & Co. Blackbird

I can, however, be sure that it is a Blackbird.



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