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Old Mabie Todd Numbering


21 replies to this topic

#1 Cepasaccus

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Posted 06 July 2015 - 10:17

The tables with the numbering of Mabie Todd pens are about the newer English pens. I would be interested in the old, four digit numbers in the US.

 

It seems to me, that pens with a "size 1" nib have a number starting with 3 and "size 2" with a 4. Otherwise I don't have an idea.

 

3012 is the plain "pocket pen".

4572 is Cob's pen with clip.

4663 is with 18k clip and two chased bands.

 

Any idea on how this numbering works? There should be three different sizes of pens according to the ads.

 

Cepasaccus



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#2 Cob

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Posted 06 July 2015 - 12:07

There is a table in Mabie in America (David Moak).

 

In summary, 3 is  1 NIB, 4 is a 3 and 5 is a 5.

 

32xx indicates a mounted pen with bands or chased end caps

36xx indicates a wide band

3x0x indicates a short nib

3x1x indicates a long nib

 

3xx0 is broad, 1 is medium broad, 2 is medium and 3 is fine

 

The 4s and 5s have a 6 or a 7 as the third digit; I suspect that this might refer to the plug feed fitted only to the 3-nib and 5-nib pens (Moak doesn't speculate). short nibbed pens have the 7 and long nibbed pens have a 6.

 

I suppose the individual who thought up this lot went on to refine his numbering technique at Conway Stewart! though at least at Mabie Todd there is some sort of system!

 

Cob


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


#3 Beechwood

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Posted 06 July 2015 - 13:40

I had a Big Blackbird in Red Mottled lever filled with the reference BB61 which doesnt line up with this list

 

http://www.mabietodd... PDF Ready.pdf

 

But others may be able to obtain some benefit or interest.



#4 Cepasaccus

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Posted 06 July 2015 - 15:15

In the advertisements und also one of my pens in plain BCHR has the number 3012.

The 3001 is in the ads the same pen with clip.

The 4571 is in the ads a plain BCHR size 3 pen. It is described as "Improved SWAN (the business man's ideal)".

Size 5 looks to have a metal underfeed.

 

In 1917 I see a pen with imprint 1500 and labeled "No. 100" and a safety screw cap pen with imprint 2C labeled "No. 200C". So the 4-digit numbers are probably only valid for the US models and the Blackbird is AFAIK an UK model.



#5 Cob

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Posted 06 July 2015 - 16:17

I had a Big Blackbird in Red Mottled lever filled with the reference BB61 which doesnt line up with this list

 

http://www.mabietodd... PDF Ready.pdf

 

But others may be able to obtain some benefit or interest.

Yes, this list comes from here - John Brindle's Website.  This has been very useful, though there are a few errors, e.g. 3130 is grey not blue, and L470/60 is just black with a wide band.  However it is a good source of information and represents a great deal of work by Mr Brindle.

 

BB61?  Well  I have a couple of Blackbirds that are the size of Swan Minor 2s and the same shape; the nib has a heart-shaped breather and is the size of a Swan 2.  The lever is BHR.  These are stamped, next to the logo, Blackbird No 3.  I cannot imagine why these were ever manufactured; they are in all respects except for the nomenclature, Swan Minor 2s, with a special short chromed step clip which rather than the usual fitting appears to be rivetted.

 

All very strange; they must have cost as much to make as the Swans but presumably being Blackbirds, sold for less!

 

Cob


Edited by Cob, 06 July 2015 - 16:23.

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


#6 Beechwood

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Posted 06 July 2015 - 18:06

The Big Blackird was marked as such on the barrell, followed by Made in Londres, and also marked Big Blackbird on the nib which was a #8

 

The pen was substantially larger than a Swan Minor, larger than a MB146/Duofold Maxima as examples. I have been collecting and restoring pens since 1964 and this was the only one I have seen, it was sold to a well known Vacumatic expert last year.



#7 MarcShiman

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 14:38

The Big Blackbirds were a series unto themselves, starting early with black hard rubber pens with red hard rubber levers (quite the look), and eventually going into celluloids as well. They were also manufactured for French and Spanish Markets as Merle Blanc Ceant and Gaviota Gigante respectively.

 

The phrase "Made in Londres" suggests this was made for the French market. Is the nib 14k or 18k?

 

Aside from the earliest Eternal Swans pens, 644 and 844, the Big Blackbirds were larger than any other British Swans at the time (in terms of girth), so perhaps they filled a particular niche. Other than the Blackbirds Cob mentioned, I don't think any other Blackbirds had that step clip. 

 

They are really lovely pens, but very very difficult to find (I'm pretty aggressive about it - I'm having a partially disintegrated Gaviota Gigante rebuilt). I believe when Beechwood referred to his possession of the pen, he referred to the past tense (had)?



#8 Beechwood

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 15:27

Hi Marc, thank you for the excellent response.

 

I agree that this Big Blackbird must have been made for the french market with Made in Londres and having am 18kt nib, also marked Big Blackbird.

 

The pen was sold some months ago and quickly sold on at the Madrid Pen Show, I was never particularly certain that the cap was original, not being a perfect match to the barrell colour and also not a stepped clip, it did have the Blackbird graphic however and I cannot imagine another MT cap fitting that pen.

 

I have been looking for a pic of the pen without success and I cannot go back far enough in FPN classifieds, I will continue the search and post again if I can find a decent image.



#9 Beechwood

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Posted 10 November 2015 - 13:21

Hi Marc, thank you for the excellent response.

 

I agree that this Big Blackbird must have been made for the french market with Made in Londres and having am 18kt nib, also marked Big Blackbird.

 

The pen was sold some months ago and quickly sold on at the Madrid Pen Show, I was never particularly certain that the cap was original, not being a perfect match to the barrell colour and also not a stepped clip, it did have the Blackbird graphic however and I cannot imagine another MT cap fitting that pen.

 

I have been looking for a pic of the pen without success and I cannot go back far enough in FPN classifieds, I will continue the search and post again if I can find a decent image.

 

 

 

Sorry for the long delay in finding pics of this now sold pen. They are not the best but I hope that they are of some use in terms of nomenclature to MT numbering.



#10 MarcShiman

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Posted 10 November 2015 - 13:29

Wow, looking at that picture, it looks more like a pen manufactured for the English market, then exported to France to an importer that stamped "Londres" over the top of the old stamp. 

 

Gorgeous pen, I wish I had the opportunity to buy it before you sold it!



#11 MarcShiman

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Posted 10 November 2015 - 13:36

By the way, as obsessive as we are with all of these numbering schemes, much of it was simply inventory control for Mabie Todd. I mean, certainly they didn't advertise something like "Not your father's 3060/42!"

 

I'm guessing, because I'm about 40 years too young, but I would think that you didn't buy color /57, you bought a lovely blue pen. It's a little easier on us pen collectors when a company like Wahl used catchy names such as Kashmir and Jet, but they also had numbers mainly for their accountants. 

 

What is it about our desire (and I'm including myself!) that we need to number these things? Is it so we can complete collections? Is it because the pens need a name (how about Fred?) 



#12 Beechwood

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Posted 10 November 2015 - 13:57

Wow, looking at that picture, it looks more like a pen manufactured for the English market, then exported to France to an importer that stamped "Londres" over the top of the old stamp. 

 

Gorgeous pen, I wish I had the opportunity to buy it before you sold it!

 

 

An interesting pen for sure, I have never seen another and I have been collecting since 1964, Big Blackbird #8 nib, I agree made in London and then diverted to the European market. It was sold on FPN about 2 years ago and then resold in Spain at the Madrid Show.

 

If the new owner happens to see this post perhaps they will post some better pics.



#13 Cob

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Posted 10 November 2015 - 16:17

A wonderful pen and obviously very rare indeed; do we have any idea of its date?

 

I wonder why MT made a Blackbird with a No 8 nib?  After all, Blackbirds were second to Swans in the MT range.

 

And as for Marc's point about the numbering I agree: it's the perfect incentive for collectors!

 

Cob


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


#14 Effin1

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Posted 11 November 2015 - 07:19

I have admitted defeat trying to number my pens. At the moment I am trying to get my data base up to date. If the pen is not numbered I just describe as best I can. I have tried but it just gets so confusing. As long as I can locate and differentiate between my various MTs it's good enough for me. When I've finished listing I will take a group picture of my un-numbered pens and the people on here can try to identify them. I will then add the numbers and save my troubled brain from scrambling any more

#15 MarcShiman

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Posted 11 November 2015 - 07:43

 

 

I wonder why MT made a Blackbird with a No 8 nib?  After all, Blackbirds were second to Swans in the MT range.

 

 

 

Cob

 

As mentioned earlier, "Big Blackbirds" were a specific series of pens, all with very large nibs (between 6 and 8 size, although for the most part they aren't numbered). The nibs are marked "Big Blackbird". Of the pens below , the first, and 4th through 6th are stamped on "Big Blackbird" on the barrel. They have very little to do with most of the Blackbirds we are trying to number that are smaller than their peer Swans.

 

It doesn't typically fit the model in which the Swans had the larger nibs. However, these aren't particularly high quality pens.  

 

fpn_1447227515__big_blackbirds.jpg



#16 MarcShiman

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Posted 11 November 2015 - 07:59

Here's another photo of them in a tray with some of their Swan and normal Blackbird cousins for size. I forgot the number of the Swan on the bottom left, but that's a 6 size nib. The hard rubber Big Blackbirds are quite a bit larger, on par with the earlier Eternal 644 and 844. The plastic Big Blackbirds on the bottom row of the far right are about as thick as the 6 size Swan, and a bit shorter. They have considerably more girth than the Swans and Blackbirds on the top row with the 2 size nibs, although they are a bit shorter in length.

 

fpn_1447228558__blackbirds.jpg



#17 Hanamizu

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 21:02

I'm hoping this might be the place to get answers to a few MT questions. A couple of weeks ago I picked a small (4 1/4"--10.5 cm) Mabie Todd Swan ring top. The maker's info reads SWAN SELF-FILLING PEN, Mabie Todd & Co New York with Patent info below that and ETERNAL at right angle. Nib reads MABIE TODD & CO, ETERNAL 4. On the bottom of the pen is 54 above a line and ETN below.

It is I guess what you'd call a mottled green and has two gold bands at the top and bottom of the cap. Since this is my first MT I am a complete newbie to the brand. Any idea as to model and age? TIA

Lee

#18 MarcShiman

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Posted 20 November 2015 - 02:22

Lee - sounds like you have a 54 Eternal ringtop in Jade. Pretty straightforward.

 

Pictures would help to define more specifically, but your pen was made somewhere between 1925 and 31.

 

Marc



#19 Hanamizu

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Posted 20 November 2015 - 04:10

Thanks, Mark. Mine is a well-worn copy, but it is still much more green, than the ugly brown they can be, so it's not a bad looking pen. Nib is firm, but smooth. The gold bands look just like the ones on the red and black pen in the second row in your post just above mine.

#20 MarcShiman

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Posted 20 November 2015 - 04:58

If it has the "stacked coin" type of bands, its at the earlier end of the period - likely 1925-27





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