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Mabie Todd Dip Pens

mabie todd dip pens

103 replies to this topic

#21 Goudy

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 09:51

Here are mother-of-pearl and ivory (I think) side by side. MOP is hard to mistake with the silvery grey flashes under the surface. But the ivory might be bone. There are ways to tell, but like you I'm reluctant to do the hot needle test.

 

h6QbecP.jpg

 

I am also a bit concerned now that there is the possibility that I have just imported something naughty. Although the manufacture of this pen pre-dates the CITES treaties, so I should be okay.

 

That hadn't occurred to me, but yes, I guess there could be some legal implications to importing ivory. The general rule seems to be that if the object is antique (>100 years old) it's legal.


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#22 Cob

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 20:33

The rule here in England is that the item must have been manufactured prior to 1947.

 

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#23 pen2paper

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 03:51

Bone's definitive marks vs ivory are evident using a loupe. 

 

Personal opinion I know, but none of my objects are hot needled, or chemical tested by me. I was taught early on to use my senses to Identify materials. Beyond magnification that could include holding in a warm hand, then observing any material odors, or even the sound with a light tap on glass. Some objects are significantly rare, perhaps a one of, a prototype, or historic, and as such, test holes, and chemical abrasions disrespectfully devalue, possibly initiating, or accelerating age deterioration. imvho per my observation.

 

Edited to include, hot needle accidentally not to ivory/bone, but celluloid, it's poof > gone. Most people are ga-ga over phenolic's, or modern acrylics, and have yet to appreciate the beauty, depth, and versatility of celluloid. There's a lot of celluloid in the pen world, for a reason. Much still functioning handsomely after some 70 decades. Simple exception, excessive Heat is not its friend.

 

Sorry this is wordy, Goudy's comments and links ably covered the ID, this sharing is for new ones who might see Hot Needle, and test unknowingly.


Edited by pen2paper, 06 September 2015 - 04:21.


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#24 Goudy

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 13:29

Thanks, pen2paper.

 

Out of curiosity, I put the handle under a (cheap, Chinese) USB microscope. I can see some grain there but I'm still not sure if it's ivory.

 

k3EoId0.jpg

 

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And this is the mother-of-pearl handle:

 

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#25 alv_23

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 15:40

I can only say this: 'WOW!!!' 


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#26 pen2paper

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 16:46

imho not bone, no dark marks, too smooth. If it were the celluloid imitation of ivory (don't think it is, just for general ID discussion, and in plain language), it would have very regular two-tone grain stripes, which this does not. What I'm seeing is irregular striped grain that appears a natural material, the soft-smooth colors of ivory, so I do think it's likely ivory, and I would care for it as if it was ivory.

 

In the past we had someone post an object that with high magnification showed dark chatter marks of bone. It's hard to tell by photo, not actually handling the material. It has an alabaster appearance, but that's too soft for this use.

If one of our specialists in antique writing instruments pops in, their opinion tops mine.



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#27 Goudy

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 19:21

Thanks for that analysis. It has more weight than I would expect from celluloid. I'll assume ivory and treat accordingly.

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#28 Empty_of_Clouds

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Posted 07 September 2015 - 04:05

Me too. Mine has pretty much that exact colouring. I am not too happy about having anything made of ivory, even if it is pre-convention, but I guess I can live with it.

 

Incidentally, a Mabie Todd #3 arrived today. Handle in black wood. I've got a bit of a zebra crossing thing going on! The nib is the biggest so far. I can only imagine what numbers 4 to 8 are like. Would love to get a complete set. 

 

And a curious point. The #1 and #2 have patterned ferrules only. The #3 ferrule is patterned too, but also bears the patent stamp and name of the company, though I cannot read the year: It looks like "Mabie Todd and Company No.3" and underneath "patent Aug 4 <unreadable>".


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#29 Goudy

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Posted 07 September 2015 - 04:49

I almost got my hands on a No.7 once, but it got lost in the post. :crybaby:

 

I'm not sure if this is the complete set of MT dip nibs, but it's something to aim for (selected pages from the 1903 MT & Bard catalogue at PCA):

 

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MPWDr4G.jpg

 

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#30 Empty_of_Clouds

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Posted 07 September 2015 - 05:19

Good Lord! That's a lot of nibs. The one that just arrived looks like a #3 long extra fine. Though other than an eyeball comparison of pictures I don't see any way to identify the nib.

 

Edit. Just had a write with the #3 and gosh what a nice nib it is to use. My favourite so far :)


Edited by Empty_of_Clouds, 07 September 2015 - 06:07.

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#31 Goudy

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 16:14

A Mabie Todd No.4 nib (4th from the left on page 1 of the catalogue above) in a Fairchild 5 holder.

 

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Nib removed for cleaning. I don't normally do this, but this nib and holder are not a particularly tight fit.

 

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The line is fine (by modern FP standards) with some easy flex. Mabie Todd, in their catalogue, describe this as "long nib, medium point". Their 313 nibs were "extra fine" and their needlepoint nibs were "finest possible".

 

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#32 Empty_of_Clouds

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 20:43

Woo, that's the exact same handle that I have with my #3. Having said that, I think the nib is a semi-flexible medium. Not really what I was hoping for. I see the occasional #1, #2, or #3 come up on eBay, but I have yet to see anything much of of other sizes. They must be out there.

 

I suspect that my lack of luck in sourcing anything decent is because I don't know the right people. I strongly believe that there is a thriving off-web network. Unfortunately I also get the feeling that it is only in the US.

 

The chances for me finding anything like this in the wild is zero. And that is not an exaggeration either.  As it looks as though I will never be able to find the larger sizes of these nibs, I am considering putting my 3 up for sale.


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#33 Goudy

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 23:04

If there is an off-web network, I'm not part of it.  :unsure: 

 

As far as I recall, all the pens I've posted in this thread came from US internet sellers. If you're looking for a large, flexible dip pen rather than an MT nib specifically, then it's worth broadening your search to other high quality New York brands from the same period such as John Holland, Aikin Lambert, ES Johnson, William Hicks and Leroy W Fairchild (to name just a few). The larger sizes are not uncommon on eBay.


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#34 Goudy

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 11:36

A Mabie Todd No.6 Needle Point with matching holder (patent date August 14th 1877). This nib is the one on the far right of the last page of the catalogue above: "Long nib, finest point possible".

 

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The holder is a simple cylinder with an internal collar to grip the nib:

 

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The nib has slight flex (no wet noodle). It's probably the finest tipped nib I've used (the dots in the picture below are 5mm apart).

 

0ii8Qz5.jpg

 


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#35 Empty_of_Clouds

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 17:38

Another beauty! I am still looking, think it may be one of those endless quests but it does no harm to look.  I do have an es johnson coming in though. Here is a pic torn from the listing for illustrative purposes:

 

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Not a Mabie Todd - that search goes on - but this is a #4 nib. The ferrule on this one is stamped sterling silver.


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#36 Greenie

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 02:34

Please stop getting me interested in dip pens!  They are SOOOOooooo beautiful, but I collect too much already. That spiral is gorgeous.  I wonder how it would feel in the hand?



#37 tragique

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Posted 01 October 2015 - 16:54

A Mabie Todd No.6 Needle Point with matching holder (patent date August 14th 1877). This nib is the one on the far right of the last page of the catalogue above: "Long nib, finest point possible".

 

Wjar6IH.jpg

 

YPWqTI0.jpg

 

jwBpNGO.jpg

 

The holder is a simple cylinder with an internal collar to grip the nib:

 

BoR5J32.jpg

 

SDY5Ayq.jpg

 

The nib has slight flex (no wet noodle). It's probably the finest tipped nib I've used (the dots in the picture below are 5mm apart).

 

0ii8Qz5.jpg

 

 

Wow, that's a real needlepoint.



#38 Goudy

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Posted 11 October 2015 - 15:07

Another Mabie Todd dinosaur from when dip pens ruled the Earth. At the opposite extreme from the needle-point, this one's a No.4 stub or "Legal Pen" (second from left, page 4 of the catalogue) in a reversible BCHR and gold-filled holder.

 

NUtZVMN.jpg

 

The front section of the holder detaches with a firm tug:

 

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You then reverse the nib unit and slot it firmly into the BCHR part. The pen can then be put in your pocket with no risk of damage to the nib or stains to your coat:

 

CFaFJJi.jpg

 

The nib holds enough ink to write for several lines between dips, despite the stub tip.

 

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It has some small flex, but the line variation comes mainly from the shape of the tip:

 

kdbb6Lp.jpg

 

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#39 Goudy

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Posted 23 October 2015 - 12:16

A short nib, medium point Mabie Todd No.7 (second from right, page 1 of the catalogue above) in a matching holder, patent date August 14th 1877.

 

urVPcXO.jpg

 

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The front of the underside of the nib is roughened, as usual, for ink adhesion, but also has a much darker appearance than I've seen before. I don't think it's dried ink. Perhaps a chemical treatment of some sort?

 

S5DWMAo.jpg

 

The point is a smooth medium semi-flex, and feels a lot like a fountain pen nib in use. Less dramatic than its fine-tipped long-tined siblings in the Mabie Todd range, this short nib was probably more for day to day office use.

 

8fQYQT3.jpg

 

zShBJqn.jpg


Edited by Goudy, 23 October 2015 - 13:05.

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#40 tavery

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 16:30

Found these yesterday (they had gotten packed in a weird place in my last move)!

Backstory: My mom said these pens belonged either to her grandmother or great-grandmother. One is a Mabie Todd, and maybe someone can help me with the other one? Before they were given to me, for as long as I can remember they were kept in an small, old, slanted fold-down desk in my grandmother's house.

Sorry for the not great pictures since I only have a camera phone.

The second pen doesn't have any writing on it except for the nib which reads "Crown No 1"

 

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