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Photo

Le Merle Blanc


8 replies to this topic

#1 rhr2010

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 04:20

I stumbled upon a red ripple fountain pen whose barrel has the imprint:

LE MERLE BLANC
MADE BY THE "SWAN" PEN PEOPLE
FABRIQUE EN ANGLETERRE

It was a little surprise in a lot of pen parts. It is in good conditions, the only issue is that carries a substitution nib made by Degussa.

I never heard before of the "Le Merle Blanc". Is this a known pen produced by Swan like Black Bird? I wonder why they would rename a pen just for the French market. Maybe French people in the 20s were unhappy to use a pen with an English name?
The hard rubber looks exactly like the one of the Mabie Todd Swan pens that I have made in England.
" I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." -- Albert Einstein

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#2 Pickwick

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 04:55

There was a thread on FPN, A le Merle pen was up for sale. Looking on the internet I found that it was made by Swan for the export market in the 1920s. Looks as though there are a number of these pens still out there, and sought after.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards,

Pickwick

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick


#3 rhr2010

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Posted 14 January 2011 - 05:07

Thank you Pickwick, I found the FPN former ad. It is an interesting name, since "le merle" is typically black and would translate "blackbird", therefore the name is something like "the white blackbird". Maybe they wanted to stress that it was rare and desirable?
" I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." -- Albert Einstein

#4 Vintagepens

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 21:41

Not exactly -- it was not made to be collected.

A parallel would be the Conway Stewart pens made for the French market, as Le Tigre.
Swan also used a Spanish bird name that escapes me at the moment for some of its Spanish-market pens.

#5 northlodge

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Posted 15 January 2011 - 23:17

Could the reason for the name be as simple as "Swan" was an internationally recognised model, whilst "Mabie Todd & Co" did not trip off the French tongue so readily.

#6 Vintagepens

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Posted 16 January 2011 - 14:09

Who knows? Then and now, sometimes a foreign name adds cachet, sometimes only confusion (or, potentially, nationalistic antipathy). It can be a difficult call -- which, I'm sure, is why we see such a variety of approaches.

#7 rhr2010

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 15:05

Thank you for all the comments. I just find interesting the use of the name "Le Merle Blanc", it would make more sense "Le Merle Noir", but maybe I am lacking some knowledge of French ornithology. Or maybe it is just a ear catching term like "black swan", that is now a very popular term (not in pen collecting) after the book of Taleb.
" I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." -- Albert Einstein

#8 Red Ripple

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 15:36

This shows the wisdom of using numbers in model names, when exporting, as in the Parker 51.

#9 Pickwick

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 05:25

Thank you for all the comments. I just find interesting the use of the name "Le Merle Blanc", it would make more sense "Le Merle Noir", but maybe I am lacking some knowledge of French ornithology. Or maybe it is just a ear catching term like "black swan", that is now a very popular term (not in pen collecting) after the book of Taleb.


It's interesting where the psychology of marketing an item plays an important role, particularly to a foreign market. French, being a romantic language puts 'Le Blanc Merle' in a poetic mode giving the feeling of owning something rare and unique as a White Blackbird is seldom if ever seen, perhaps?

Just a reflection,

Pickwick

Edited by Pickwick, 19 January 2011 - 05:26.

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick




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