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Swan Mabie Todd Question


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#81 MikeForester

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 05:09

Here finally are some definitive answers. These don't necessarily solve the mystery of the 1930s numbering scheme, but I think the 1921 numbers show how the system developed.

The first attachment is from a 1908 British catalog and explains the numbering system on the original Swan eyedroppers, which were probably in use from the time the brand was introduced till at least 1910. At the end of 1907 the "Mabie, Todd & Bard" partnership was dissolved and "Mabie, Todd & Co." was incorporated in New York State.

Next is the explanation of model numbers from the 1921 Mabie, Todd New York catalog. As far as I've pieced together, the first self-fillers were introduced about 1915 and were numbered as "2 S.F.", "4 S.F." and I even have a "2½ S.F." I don't know whether this numbering system referred to the barrel ("holder") size or the nib size. By 1921 they had replaced that system with the one described below, which as I say looks like it developed directly into the more-familiar 1930s system.

I was disappointed in the quality of the scans but they're all that's available. (And I don't have the actual catalogs, no.) Any copyright on these documents has long since expired, so I'm not worried about reposting them.

-Mike

mabie_todd_catalog_july_1908.png

mabie_todd_catalog_1921.png

Edited by MikeForester, 30 July 2012 - 05:11.


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#82 Effin1

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 07:38

This is what I read on another forum and relates only to models that start with a 3***
First digit = model number
2nd digit = nib size and no. of cap bands
3rd digit colour 2 = dark blue 3 = grey 4 = dark green 5 = brown 6 = black
4th digit material made from 0 = plastic 1 = BHR 2 = ? (casein)
Nibs
1 = small
2 = standard
3 = highest quality

Earlier models have brass cap threads on barrel
It did say that these codes only relate to the 3*** models and things get very confusing on other models
Hope this helps

#83 MikeForester

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 07:47

This is what I read on another forum and relates only to models that start with a 3***
First digit = model number
2nd digit = nib size and no. of cap bands
3rd digit colour 2 = dark blue 3 = grey 4 = dark green 5 = brown 6 = black
4th digit material made from 0 = plastic 1 = BHR 2 = ? (casein)
Nibs
1 = small
2 = standard
3 = highest quality

Earlier models have brass cap threads on barrel
It did say that these codes only relate to the 3*** models and things get very confusing on other models
Hope this helps


That's more or less true and has already been covered in this thread, which has been going on for a while. In fact the new designs introduced after WWII were numbered 3xxx for lever fillers and 4xxx for leverless. The second digit represented the nib *size*, not "quality", and ran from 1 to 6. The last two digits represented the color and material. Ernst Bitterman has put together a very helpful guide to the pre- and post-WWII pens linked in this post:

http://www.fountainp...ost__p__2103138

#84 Happy Harry

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 10:47

This is what I read on another forum and relates only to models that start with a 3***
First digit = model number
2nd digit = nib size and no. of cap bands
3rd digit colour 2 = dark blue 3 = grey 4 = dark green 5 = brown 6 = black
4th digit material made from 0 = plastic 1 = BHR 2 = ? (casein)
Nibs
1 = small
2 = standard
3 = highest quality

Earlier models have brass cap threads on barrel
It did say that these codes only relate to the 3*** models and things get very confusing on other models
Hope this helps


That's more or less true and has already been covered in this thread, which has been going on for a while. In fact the new designs introduced after WWII were numbered 3xxx for lever fillers and 4xxx for leverless. The second digit represented the nib *size*, not "quality", and ran from 1 to 6. The last two digits represented the color and material. Ernst Bitterman has put together a very helpful guide to the pre- and post-WWII pens linked in this post:

http://www.fountainp...ost__p__2103138



From my experience as quoted is correct. The 3 series only ran to a no.3 nib. In general the third digit represents color and the fourth material, also the 5 (the near identical pens appear as both Swan and Blackbird) and 6 series are lever fillers and solid colors follows this in 3 to 6 series. The marbled pens and 3 series with third number 7 do not follow, in the case of the 317x these are cheap models from the end of MT and rather poor likewise I suspect the marbled pens ( found in the 5 and 6 series ) are from a similar period, I treat these as separate from the solid colors.

#85 MikeForester

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 11:28

From my experience as quoted is correct. The 3 series only ran to a no.3 nib. In general the third digit represents color and the fourth material, also the 5 (the near identical pens appear as both Swan and Blackbird) and 6 series are lever fillers and solid colors follows this in 3 to 6 series. The marbled pens and 3 series with third number 7 do not follow, in the case of the 317x these are cheap models from the end of MT and rather poor likewise I suspect the marbled pens ( found in the 5 and 6 series ) are from a similar period, I treat these as separate from the solid colors.


Good point, it hadn't occurred to me I've never seen larger than a 33xx. I finally got hold of a 4660 a couple of weeks ago and I'm still in awe of it. B)

-Mike

#86 Happy Harry

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 21:51

From my experience as quoted is correct. The 3 series only ran to a no.3 nib. In general the third digit represents color and the fourth material, also the 5 (the near identical pens appear as both Swan and Blackbird) and 6 series are lever fillers and solid colors follows this in 3 to 6 series. The marbled pens and 3 series with third number 7 do not follow, in the case of the 317x these are cheap models from the end of MT and rather poor likewise I suspect the marbled pens ( found in the 5 and 6 series ) are from a similar period, I treat these as separate from the solid colors.


Good point, it hadn't occurred to me I've never seen larger than a 33xx. I finally got hold of a 4660 a couple of weeks ago and I'm still in awe of it. B)

-Mike


Nice find. On nibs I should mention that "Eternal" are found down to no.2 size, far from common though.

#87 Wet-Noodle

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Posted 16 February 2015 - 16:56

I forgot something.

The M,T&Co headquarters and factory in London along with paperwork, records etc was destroyed by bombing during WWII. So little detail on pre war production exists as I understand.


Philistines, a war crime.

#88 Cob

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Posted 16 February 2015 - 17:23

On the point of colour, in fact it was the two final digits - it gets confusing: pens with numbers ending in 60 are black celluloid, whilst 61 is black hard rubber.. Around 1930 60 was black celluloid whilst e.g. 50 was jade; post war 50 was burgundy... A Swan Minor in red mottled hard rubber that carried the number SM1/61!

 

Here for example are two pens in 64 material - brown amber: the left hand one carries no number, the right hand one is numbered L330/64; both have No3 nibs - and note the different clips!:

 

fpn_1424107371__2.jpg

 

Cob


Edited by Cob, 16 February 2015 - 17:23.

fpn_1428963683__6s.jpg “The pen of the British Empire” fpn_1423349537__swan_sign_is.jpg


#89 httpmom

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 11:17

I'm new to the network, but I have been searching for information on a Swan pen I purchased at a garage sale for $20. It is black with gold trim and the number on the cap says 930. The nib is gold and it is inscribed with the words IRIDIUM POINT. It's missing the filler parts, but it is not one with the side lever. I got it thinking it might be the flex pen of my dreams, as the nib is curved up at the tip.

 

Would be very grateful for any information any one can provide on this pen. Is it a Chinese fake? Can I purchase the missing parts? Can I have it repaired? Where would I send it for repair?

 

I have a photo or two but I don't know how to attach them.

Most Sincerely,

Casey (Typography Junkie) Haven


"You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling.” "Forever optimistic with a theme and purpose." "My other pen is oblique and dippy."

#90 Cob

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 12:55

No genuine Swan had a number stamped on the cap except early pens that carried the model number SF2, and a few variants on that.  And 930 is not a Swan model number; neither were Swans fitted with nibs stamped "iridium point" - that will be a steel nib and all Swans were fitted with gold nibs, stamped Mabie Todd (early New York Nibs) or Swan and underneath Mabie, Todd & Co.

 

The fact that the nib is turned up at the point does not mean that it is flexible I'm afraid.

 

Your pen is clearly not a Swan

 

To attach photos go to the top of the page and click on Upload; this opens a new window, you browse your files and attach the appropriate file then click on Add Image.  Your photo will then appear.  Beneath it you will find three links; copy the BB Code and paste it into your message - job done!

 

Cob


fpn_1428963683__6s.jpg “The pen of the British Empire” fpn_1423349537__swan_sign_is.jpg


#91 Scrawler

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 14:33

I'm new to the network, but I have been searching for information on a Swan pen I purchased at a garage sale for $20. It is black with gold trim and the number on the cap says 930. The nib is gold and it is inscribed with the words IRIDIUM POINT. It's missing the filler parts, but it is not one with the side lever. I got it thinking it might be the flex pen of my dreams, as the nib is curved up at the tip.

 

Would be very grateful for any information any one can provide on this pen. Is it a Chinese fake? Can I purchase the missing parts? Can I have it repaired? Where would I send it for repair?

 

I have a photo or two but I don't know how to attach them.

Most Sincerely,

Casey (Typography Junkie) Haven

Is it possible for you to show pictures of the pen body, with any imprints, a closeup of the nib and a picture of the cap showing the clip?



#92 httpmom

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 20:24

Cob,

Thanks for this! It will save me from searching any further...it must be a knockoff. Also, thanks for the photo tip.


"You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling.” "Forever optimistic with a theme and purpose." "My other pen is oblique and dippy."

#93 Cob

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 21:03

Cob,

Thanks for this! It will save me from searching any further...it must be a knockoff. Also, thanks for the photo tip.

You are most welcome.

 

If I can help in any way regarding Swans then all you have to do is ask.

 

Cob


fpn_1428963683__6s.jpg “The pen of the British Empire” fpn_1423349537__swan_sign_is.jpg


#94 httpmom

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 23:05

Is it possible for you to show pictures of the pen body, with any imprints, a closeup of the nib and a picture of the cap showing the clip?

Scrawler,

As Cob told me above. It is "clearly not" a genuine Swan. I will post pictures so that others will know what a knockoff looks like. At the time I purchased it, I knew it was a gamble because I knew nothing about Swan pens other than they were made in England. For all I know it's not even a Swan, that's just what the person selling it told me. I believe the nib is damaged.

Still on a quest for a "reasonably priced" vintage flex pen.

Well, I can't post the pictures because there is no "Upload" feature at the top of the page...perhaps you have to have joined for a certain amount of time before this is allowed. I am a new member of FPN.


"You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling.” "Forever optimistic with a theme and purpose." "My other pen is oblique and dippy."

#95 Cob

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Posted 20 March 2015 - 23:09

I am sure you must be mistaken about the upload feature.  There's a row of headings starting with FPN Home, followed by Forums, Support FPN, Blogs, UPLOAD, Gallery and so on.

 

One more thing: on the barrel (if it is an English Swan) it should have an imprint that looks a bit like this:

 

fpn_1426893322__swan_imprint_1940s.jpg

 

Or this:

 

fpn_1426893459__3.jpg

 

Cob


Edited by Cob, 20 March 2015 - 23:18.

fpn_1428963683__6s.jpg “The pen of the British Empire” fpn_1423349537__swan_sign_is.jpg


#96 Scrawler

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 00:08

Scrawler,

As Cob told me above. It is "clearly not" a genuine Swan. I will post pictures so that others will know what a knockoff looks like. At the time I purchased it, I knew it was a gamble because I knew nothing about Swan pens other than they were made in England. For all I know it's not even a Swan, that's just what the person selling it told me. I believe the nib is damaged.

Still on a quest for a "reasonably priced" vintage flex pen.

Well, I can't post the pictures because there is no "Upload" feature at the top of the page...perhaps you have to have joined for a certain amount of time before this is allowed. I am a new member of FPN.

Not everyone uses the "Upload" feature to post images. Many members post them to photo hosting services like Photobucket or Imgur, and include the IMG link in their messages. Like this:

 

swansfi_zpsfouffdlg.jpg

 

I like Swan pens and am curious about what is being represented as a Swan pen. We may be able to tell you quite a bit about the pen you have from pictures. Not all Swan pens are flexies. I have a number that are no where near it. This, for instance is a rigid stub Swan

 

DSC03582-1.jpg

 

DSC03586-1.jpg



#97 httpmom

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 09:06

Got it! It's not a Swan because there is no logo on the barrel...but here are the pictures anyway. What it is? Someone here might know. I suspect it is a knock off pen of some type. Oh well. I'm not out and great deal of money on it and I feel it was a chance worth taking as I am looking for a good flex tip pen at the moment.

https://www.flickr.c...ol-11027769@N00

https://www.flickr.c...l-11027769@N00/

The nib is inscribed with the words 'IRIDIUM POINT'

Thanks so much for all the wonderful help!


"You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling.” "Forever optimistic with a theme and purpose." "My other pen is oblique and dippy."

#98 Scrawler

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 10:27

Got it! It's not a Swan because there is no logo on the barrel...but here are the pictures anyway. What it is? Someone here might know. I suspect it is a knock off pen of some type. Oh well. I'm not out and great deal of money on it and I feel it was a chance worth taking as I am looking for a good flex tip pen at the moment.

https://www.flickr.c...ol-11027769@N00

https://www.flickr.c...l-11027769@N00/

The nib is inscribed with the words 'IRIDIUM POINT'

Thanks so much for all the wonderful help!

This is a modern Chinese pen. The clip has some attributes of a "Duke", but it is not a Duke. The Duke is a relatively high quality pen. The nib is a generic Chinese nib and looks bent. There are Chinese calligraphy nibs that curve upwards, but this is not one of them. The interesting thing about the nib is that it does not say "Germany" on it. The Chinese pen manufacturers try to suggest that their nibs are made in Germany, by referring to the "iridium" tip. I imagine this is a fairly heavy pen. It looks like lacquer on a brass tube construction. Swan's are fairly light, being made mostly of hard runner or celluloid plastics. I suggest taking these pics to the Asian pen section and asking around to get a positive ID on what it is, unless all you wanted was confirmation that it was not a Swan.



#99 Cob

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 12:20

And the naughty people who made the pen thought it would be a good idea to put a Montblanc emblem on the finial of the cap!

 

C.


fpn_1428963683__6s.jpg “The pen of the British Empire” fpn_1423349537__swan_sign_is.jpg


#100 Scrawler

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 12:38

And the naughty people who made the pen thought it would be a good idea to put a Montblanc emblem on the finial of the cap!

 

C.

Did you click on the right arrow? That really is a Montblanc.





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