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Mabie Todd Help

mabir todd bchr flex swan

30 replies to this topic

#21 Cob

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Posted 15 August 2015 - 18:49

By the way, the other day I bought a large BHR self filler because it was fitted with a MT NY No 4 nib, so I got all excited - and disappointed.  It doesn't say Eternal on it but it should do!

 

A month ago I got a MY NY No 3; same message more or less...

 

Cob


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#22 MarcShiman

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 01:01

Cob,

 

Why should it say "Eternal" on it?

 

Marc



#23 TXKat

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 13:13

Well don't I feel silly.     :headsmack:    Yes, I also have 44ETN and 46ETN pens, so 42 alone makes total sense. 

 

Well, I'm glad it makes sense to you as it's totally confusing to me!  :wacko:  Can someone please try to explain what SF means/meant and what the ETN means? And why would a lone 42 make sense???? (Let me get a drink first....)

 

By the way, the other day I bought a large BHR self filler because it was fitted with a MT NY No 4 nib, so I got all excited - and disappointed.  It doesn't say Eternal on it but it should do!

 

A month ago I got a MY NY No 3; same message more or less...

 

Cob

 

What is the significance of the nib saying Eternal and why you would want that? Is there a certain time frame that MTs would/should have had this nib?

 

Sorry for all of the new questions. Have a great week, peeps!!!  :D  


Edited by TXKat, 17 August 2015 - 13:14.

So, what's your point? (Mine is a flexible F.)

#24 Cob

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 14:12

Cob,

 

Why should it say "Eternal" on it?

 

Marc

Because it's a nail!

 

 

 

Well, I'm glad it makes sense to you as it's totally confusing to me!  :wacko:  Can someone please try to explain what SF means/meant and what the ETN means? And why would a lone 42 make sense???? (Let me get a drink first....)

 

 

What is the significance of the nib saying Eternal and why you would want that? Is there a certain time frame that MTs would/should have had this nib?

 

Sorry for all of the new questions. Have a great week, peeps!!!  :D  

Mabie Todd Eternals were guaranteed for ever, though of course the demise of the company has rather put the kibosh on that.  Eternals are rigid nibs and were ideal for use with carbon papers - one could probably make several carbon copies with an Eternal nib!  Sheaffer Lifetimes and Conway Stewart Duros are the same sort of thing.

 

Why would I want that?  Well personally I wouldn't, though in fact I have a ETN44 and it writes beautifully, but not really in the way I like as I prefer stubs and flexible nibs.  I understand that many people do like Eternals so there you are!

 

42 makes sense because 4 is MT's chosen designator for the size and shape of the pen and 2 is the nib size.

 

SF = self-filler generally now used to differentiate between lever fillers and other systems e.g. Leverless and Visofils &c. but then to distinguish the pens from eye-dropper fillers.

 

Cob


Edited by Cob, 17 August 2015 - 14:15.

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#25 MarcShiman

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 14:14

The pen manufacturers often used numbers to describe their pens mainly as a way for the dealers to order them - Parker used language like Senior, Junior, and Lady but some of the others like Waterman, Mabie Todd and Wahl used numbers to describe all of the variations in size and metal ornaments. The Mabie Todd catalog from 1921 was 37 pages of different pens styles, and it would have been difficult to brand them all anyway (talk about confusion!).

 

Mabie Todd introduced the lever filler sometime between 1910 and 1920 (I forget exactly when Cob may know) and called it the "Self-Filler" - "SF" is short for that. The predominant filling system during that time was the eye dropper, so this was a big innovation. Some pens are labeled "SF" and the British subsidiary (and ultimately its own company) continued to use "Self-Filler", "Leverless" and other descriptive phrases. The American pens in the 1920's tended to stick to numbers.

 

The "Eternal" line was introduced in 1924 (that's what all the literature says, but I'm skeptical. I think it came in a few years earlier) by Mabie Todd to compete with the likes of the Sheaffer "Lifetime" and the Wahl "Signature" pens. It had a heavier slab of gold than the original pens. However, they continued to make non-Eternal pens as well. The funny thing is that while the Eternal pens were considered their high-end at the time, the thicker gold often means that the nibs are less flexible, and are now less desirable than the non-Eternal nibs. The much harder to find 6 and 8 size non-Eternal nibs are considerably more interesting to write with, although the pens themselves (being the lower end of their line) are not as interesting. Eternal pens had the marking "ETN" under the model number.

 

The first number, "4" (or "5" or "7") was the description of the line of basic self-fillers. The nibs ranged from 2 to 8 in size (although the British had 1 size nibs as well). 

 

Some of the earlier pens that were the pre-cursor to yours were marked SF-2, and it was later that they went to a "4" to reflect a self-filler without a cap band. They used a "6" for a pen without a clip. They used a "1" for a screw-top eyedropper (they called it a "safety" because the inner cap met the lip of the section causing a seal so the pen wouldn't leak)

 

Here are the prefixes in the 21 catalog:

1 - Eyedropper with a screw on cap and a clip

2 - Eyedropper with a screw on cap and no clip

3 - Eyedropper vest pocket without a clip

4 - Lever filler with a clip

5 - Lever filler short length but the wider version

6 - Lever filler without a clip

7 - Lever filler short length but thinner

 

Ornate cap band - add a one in front

Gold plated - add a letter in front (depends on the style)

 

Got it? A clipless eyedropper with a 6 nib would be a 26.

 

Anyway, yours is a very standard 42, the most simple of the pen descriptions. 



#26 MarcShiman

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 14:21

 

Mabie Todd Eternals were guaranteed for ever, though of course the demise of the company has rather put the kibosh on that.  Eternals are rigid nibs and were ideal for use with carbon papers - one could probably make several carbon copies with an Eternal nib!  Sheaffer Lifetimes and Conway Stewart Duros are the same sort of thing.

 

Why would I want that?  Well personally I wouldn't, though in fact I have a ETN44 and it writes beautifully, but not really in the way I like as I prefer stubs and flexible nibs.  I understand that many people do like Eternals so there you are!

 

Cob

 

Actually, they made different styles of Eternal nibs - "manifold" nibs were made to go through carbons, but "stenographer" nibs were meant to have some flexibility (for "shading"). There were varieties that the buyer could choose, although it seems that they eternal nibs weren't marked like non-eternal nibs. 



#27 Cob

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 14:28

The pen manufacturers often used numbers to describe their pens mainly as a way for the dealers to order them - Parker used language like Senior, Junior, and Lady but some of the others like Waterman, Mabie Todd and Wahl used numbers to describe all of the variations in size and metal ornaments. The Mabie Todd catalog from 1921 was 37 pages of different pens styles, and it would have been difficult to brand them all anyway (talk about confusion!).

 

Mabie Todd introduced the lever filler sometime between 1910 and 1920 (I forget exactly when Cob may know) and called it the "Self-Filler" - "SF" is short for that. The predominant filling system during that time was the eye dropper, so this was a big innovation. Some pens are labeled "SF" and the British subsidiary (and ultimately its own company) continued to use "Self-Filler", "Leverless" and other descriptive phrases. The American pens in the 1920's tended to stick to numbers.

 

The "Eternal" line was introduced in 1924 (that's what all the literature says, but I'm skeptical. I think it came in a few years earlier) by Mabie Todd to compete with the likes of the Sheaffer "Lifetime" and the Wahl "Signature" pens. It had a heavier slab of gold than the original pens. However, they continued to make non-Eternal pens as well. The funny thing is that while the Eternal pens were considered their high-end at the time, the thicker gold often means that the nibs are less flexible, and are now less desirable than the non-Eternal nibs. The much harder to find 6 and 8 size non-Eternal nibs are considerably more interesting to write with, although the pens themselves (being the lower end of their line) are not as interesting. Eternal pens had the marking "ETN" under the model number.

 

The first number, "4" (or "5" or "7") was the description of the line of basic self-fillers. The nibs ranged from 2 to 8 in size (although the British had 1 size nibs as well). 

 

Some of the earlier pens that were the pre-cursor to yours were marked SF-2, and it was later that they went to a "4" to reflect a self-filler without a cap band. They used a "6" for a pen without a clip. They used a "1" for a screw-top eyedropper (they called it a "safety" because the inner cap met the lip of the section causing a seal so the pen wouldn't leak)

 

Here are the prefixes in the 21 catalog:

1 - Eyedropper with a screw on cap and a clip

2 - Eyedropper with a screw on cap and no clip

3 - Eyedropper vest pocket without a clip

4 - Lever filler with a clip

5 - Lever filler short length but the wider version

6 - Lever filler without a clip

7 - Lever filler short length but thinner

 

Ornate cap band - add a one in front

Gold plated - add a letter in front (depends on the style)

 

Got it? A clipless eyedropper with a 6 nib would be a 26.

 

Anyway, yours is a very standard 42, the most simple of the pen descriptions. 

A great summary Marc and a very useful reference; I don't know exactly when the lever fillers were introduced, I must try to find out!

 

What I suppose must be added is that a few years later they changed again, so by 1927 we had such products as the SF 130, SF 230, (+ the B & C versions!) then with Celluloids the 230/60 (they dropped the SF) and then with the colours such confections as 142/ and 242/ 50 (Jade), 142/ and 242/52 (Lapis) 142/+ 242/54 (black with jade bands) etc.

 

It's all jolly interesting!

 

Cob


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#28 TXKat

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 14:30

:notworthy1:  :notworthy1:  :notworthy1:  :notworthy1:

 

:thumbup:

 

I have been 'schooled'! Brilliant help, all of you! Very much appreciated.

 

 

*on a side note: Apologies for the typos in one of my above posts as my phone has a mind of it's own and now that I see them, I am unable to edit them. For the sake of the history of this thread, I want that to be  known! )


So, what's your point? (Mine is a flexible F.)

#29 MarcShiman

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 14:36

A great summary Marc and a very useful reference; I don't know exactly when the lever fillers were introduced, I must try to find out!

 

What I suppose must be added is that a few years later they changed again, so by 1927 we had such products as the SF 130, SF 230, (+ the B & C versions!) then with Celluloids the 230/60 (they dropped the SF) and then with the colours such confections as 142/ and 242/ 50 (Jade), 142/ and 242/52 (Lapis) 142/+ 242/54 (black with jade bands) etc.

 

It's all jolly interesting!

 

Cob

Cob,

 

I think the American and British companies went their own way with their numbering schemes. They were following the same designs up until about 1927 it seems. However, the American 46/ETN and 56/ETN were the equivalent of the British L644 and L644/B (for the vest pocket size). In 1927, the Americans went to a second generation of Eternals while I believe the British retired them until they relaunched them about a decade later as twist fillers.  The British went with the SF 130/ 230/ and 330, while the Americans continue with 44/46/48.

 

1927 is where the divergence of the American and British brands started. The British 130/230/330 had 1, 2 and 3 size nibs respectively, and relatively thin pens to match. The American 44/46/48 had 4, 6, and 8 nibs, and much larger pens.

 

They did share the whole colored plastic 142/172 line and numbering scheme. Not sure why they did with those and not the others?


Edited by MarcShiman, 17 August 2015 - 14:39.


#30 Cob

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 16:49

Cob,

 

I think the American and British companies went their own way with their numbering schemes. They were following the same designs up until about 1927 it seems. However, the American 46/ETN and 56/ETN were the equivalent of the British L644 and L644/B (for the vest pocket size). In 1927, the Americans went to a second generation of Eternals while I believe the British retired them until they relaunched them about a decade later as twist fillers.  The British went with the SF 130/ 230/ and 330, while the Americans continue with 44/46/48.

 

1927 is where the divergence of the American and British brands started. The British 130/230/330 had 1, 2 and 3 size nibs respectively, and relatively thin pens to match. The American 44/46/48 had 4, 6, and 8 nibs, and much larger pens.

 

They did share the whole colored plastic 142/172 line and numbering scheme. Not sure why they did with those and not the others?

I'm sure that you are correct - although the L prefix always meant a Leverless in England.

 

I do have an English-made Swan stamped 230/60 on the end - i.e a Celluloid pen unlike the SF 230 which was BHR.  And I have a strange English clipless Eternal: this one has a domed MHR finial with a Swan on it, and no model number except the section is stamped "Swan" E4C and has a No 4 Eternal nib; it is a big pen, full girth and 140mm long capped.  It seems to be made from a different material from the usual Celluloid though not BHR.  I should add it is the most reliable pen I have - leave it for weeks, and it is ready to write immediately.

 

I must say I do enjoy these discussions.

 

Rgds

 

Cob


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#31 MarcShiman

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Posted 17 August 2015 - 16:53

Perhaps the main takeaway here is that when ID'ing a Mabie Todd pen, start with the country of origin (US or UK) - for the most part, the two companies used very distinct numbering schemes. 

 

It would be very difficult trying to make sense of an American pen using British numbering schemes and vice versa.





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