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Mabie Todd Dip Pens

mabie todd dip pens

102 replies to this topic

#41 Goudy

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Posted 06 November 2015 - 23:28

They both look very well preserved.

 

I don't know anything about Crown, though it appears to be one of the high quality brands of the period, on a par with Mabie Todd. Here's a No.1 similar to yours.


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#42 tavery

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 01:07

Thanks for the link! It didn't occur to me to check ebay for similar pens.

 

As for the condition, probably no one's used these pens in at least 50 years, and I'm a little shy of using them because they seem so delicate! The Mabie Todd nib has a much softer flex than the Crown one, and they are both far and away from Noodler's nibs, which is my only other flex nib reference point.

There was initially more dried ink on the nibs, and I haven't been able to pull them out, but I also haven't tried too hard.

 

The retractable pens you posted are gorgeous and so clever. I'm glad you show-and-telled about the underside of the nibs being roughened for ink adhesion because before I read that I thought the nibs might have been corroded.



#43 Silviu

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 12:38

Hi,

Here's a MT NY no. 3 dip pen with a MOP handle. It's my first dip pen. It has arrived in it's original box which is in amazing condition considering it's age (like it was preserved in a time capsule). In the picture is also a MT & Bard wooden box for nibs (called "Gold Pens" on the box").  It is from the other side of the ocean bearing MT&Bard's Cheapside address in London.

 

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#44 Empty_of_Clouds

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Posted 09 November 2015 - 00:12

Ooh, that's a beauty!  Are you going to write with it? :)


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#45 Silviu

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Posted 13 November 2015 - 11:45

I've tried at home. I'ts very flexible, but it's a messy process. All the dipping and wiping of the surplus of ink is very tedious. A good thing the FP replaced them, that from a practical point of view.



#46 Goudy

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Posted 14 November 2015 - 16:50

I've tried at home. I'ts very flexible, but it's a messy process. All the dipping and wiping of the surplus of ink is very tedious. A good thing the FP replaced them, that from a practical point of view.

 

I'm learning to enjoy the pauses that dip pen writing imposes. B)

 

As for wiping the nib, I generally only do that once, after I've finished writing. If you find you're loading too much ink onto the nib with each dip, try a different ink. The iron gall varieties are particularly well behaved with these vintage dip nibs.


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#47 Goudy

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 00:03

Here's a description of the way these old dip nibs were made. It comes from an 1889 patent by John T Foster. The patent describes Foster's new idea for improved strength, elasticity and ink adhesion by stamping a kind of waffle pattern onto the nibs. (I have an Aikin Lambert pen which actually uses his idea and came across the patent link for it on David Nishimura's blog.) Foster prefaces his invention by describing the steps in the traditional manufacturing process. Note that he uses "pen" to describe what we would call the nib, and when he talks about the "nibs of the pen" he appears to mean the tines.

 

"First, the strip of metal from which the pens are to be made is rolled to the proper thickness; second, flat pen-blanks are stamped or punched out of this strip; third, these blanks are then pointed with iridium; fourth, the separate blanks are then rolled down to the proper thickness; fifth, the portion of the blank destined to form the nibs of the pen is hammered in order to harden it and impart sufficient elasticity to the nibs of the pen, usually twenty or thirty, or sometimes as many as forty, blows with a light hammer being given; sixth, the hammering process having spread the nib of the pen laterally, it is next necessary to cut out the blank to the exact outline required for the pen, which is done by punching; seventh, the pen is then raised, to give it the curved or convex shape, by striking it between dies; eighth, the operations of slitting the nib and grinding the point are then performed; ninth, the pen is polished, and, tenth, finally, the operation of nibbing or stoning is performed, which is done by rubbing the nibs on the under side against a peculiar kind of stone, by which the under surface of the nibs is dulled or scratched in order to enable it to hold the ink."

 

He adds that:

 

"Pens made by the old process vary greatly in elasticity, so that in buying a pen it is necessary to test a great number of pens before finding one of the precise degree of elasticity desired. By my process, however, the pens can be made of uniform elasticity, or can be made of different grades of elasticity, all the pens of each grade being precisely alike in their writing quality."


Edited by Goudy, 15 November 2015 - 12:07.

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#48 Goudy

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 14:41

A Mabie Todd No.5 stub or "Legal Pen", similar to the No.4 I showed earlier (post 38), but with a bit more wear to both nib and holder.

 

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Like the No.4, the holder is a reversible. You pull out the nib section, reverse it and slot it into the BCHR handle for safety:

 

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The nib is a flexible stub:

 

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The underside shows the tipping material and the usual roughening of the gold at the front, a process called "nibbing" or "stoning", done by "rubbing the nibs on the under side against a peculiar kind of stone, by which the under surface of the nibs is dulled or scratched in order to enable it to hold the ink." (see the preceding post in this thread).

 

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Here are the No.5 and the No.4 together:

 

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#49 Empty_of_Clouds

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 18:11

Wonderful!  Saw one similar on eBay one time.

 

Sadly, EoC will be getting rid of all the vintage gold dip pens. There are 5 now, and they languish in a drawer. Not sure why they were purchased in the first place.  Think they may go one the Bay as a lot to try to minimize losses.


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#50 Greenie

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 21:47

Goudy,

 

I love seeing these pens. Great pictures!  

 

Thank you for sharing the pre-fountain pens on FPN.



#51 Goudy

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 05:23

Thanks, Greenie and EoC. I'm down to the odds and ends of my collection now, so if anyone else has some MT dip pens to show, I'd love to see them.

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#52 drippingpen

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 18:58

Wanted to share a picture of my Mabie Todd pens.  Top box actually holds a MT #1 (tiny) dip pen with pearl handle.  In the middle is another pearl handle with a MT 313 #3 flex nib.  Bottom is a Mabie projecting pen/pencil combination (late 1800's) with a gold c.h. Hunt 25 World gold round tip nib. It has Goodyear and the Mabie patent mark.  The collar moves back and forth to hide or use the dip pen, with a pencil that projects when the back portion of pen is twisted.  

 

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#53 Goudy

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 19:08

Beautiful - thanks. 313 was the designation for "extra-fine", and they seem to be a lot rarer than the standard MT nibs.


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#54 Goudy

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 13:04

An Edward Todd No.10 in a Mabie Todd No.7 holder. The holder is gold-filled with a repoussé pattern and an 1877 patent date. The shaft is ivory (possibly bone). The inner ring that grasps the nib had either broken off or descended into the holder, so I replaced this with a modern steel ferrule.

 

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The nib, though marked 10, is about the size of a typical No.5 nib of the period. I have an Edward Todd No.5 which is slightly larger.

 

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I don't know what the A on the nib designates. Compared to the Edward Todd No.10 C that I showed earlier (post 7), this one is finer and firmer, with only slight flex:

 

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Both No.10s:

 

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#55 milkb0at

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Posted 18 December 2015 - 22:25

Beautiful pens.



#56 Goudy

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Posted 02 January 2016 - 12:00

An Edward Todd No.2 in a BCHR and gold-filled retractable holder (unbranded):

 

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This nib is marked "P" above the maker's name. It has a patent date of 1887 on the reverse. I don't think I've seen any Mabie Todd nibs with a date imprint, though it was standard practice with Foley Bank Pens, and occasionally on other makers' nibs (e.g. Aikin Lambert, see post 47 above).

 

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The holder appears to be the same design as drippingpen's holder in post 52. You can retract the nib by pulling back on the sliding ring, then twist the rear half of the holder clockwise to extend the pencil:

 

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The tip of the pencil holder unscrews to reveal a metal rod. Twisting the knurled mounting of the rod clockwise extends it, allowing you to push the pencil lead forward through the tip as it wears down. The repoussé cap at the rear of the holder unscrews for storage of spare leads:

 

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I don't have any pencil leads the right size yet, so I haven't been able to test that part. The Edward Todd nib is fine to EF with some flex.

 

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#57 Goudy

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Posted 19 January 2016 - 18:05

A Bard & Brother No.4 nib in a Mabie, Todd & Co retractable holder.
 
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From information gleaned from Kamakura Pens and other online sources (not all in agreement on dates and facts!)... Bard & Brother were nib makers based in New York and Boston, flourishing in the 1840s. When the business closed in 1851, two of the company's agents, William Smith and Edward Todd, took over the New York office to form Smith & Todd. Edward Todd later joined with John Mabie to form Mabie, Todd & Co (1860), then in 1868 left to make pens under his own name. Between 1873 and 1907, Mabie, Todd & Co were rebranded as Mabie, Todd & Bard.
 
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If that history of the companies is correct, nib and holder probably date from different decades. The nib would be 1851 or earlier, the holder with its repoussé design would be post 1860. The part of the holder that actually grips the nib had become lost at some point in its 150 year life, so I MacGyvered a replacement from a piece of brass shim (just visible in the picture below). The holder also incorporates a mechanical pencil, which is functionally identical to the Edward Todd one in my last post.
 
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The nib has a different feel from the Mabie Todd and Edward Todd nibs I've previously posted about, with a softer flex, requiring a light touch.
 
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Edit: The imprint on the nib was probably Bard & Brothers (with an s) originally, though the s is now completely worn away.

Edited by Goudy, 19 January 2016 - 23:41.

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#58 Bagpiper

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Posted 19 March 2016 - 22:57

Hi,

This is my first post to the forums. I have recently acquired a few dip pens, one is Mabie & Todd, NYC, 14k 313 No. 7 Nib, and Mabie & Todd, NY Number 4 Dip Pen, with a 14K no 3 nib, MOP handle, and the third is a John Wannamker Dip Pen, which was the Macy's of the day and is basically a rebranded pen from another company.

Any comments welcomed.

#59 Goudy

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 00:13

Hi Bagpiper, welcome to the forums. Do you have any pictures of the Mabie Todd pens? I've never seen a No.7 313 in the flesh.


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#60 Bagpiper

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 01:32

Hi, I did attach a photo with the the first post but it didn't upload - trying again - it might be a permission problem

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Edited by Bagpiper, 20 March 2016 - 01:36.




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