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Mystery Pen - A "swan Blackbird"?


25 replies to this topic

#1 Cob

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 16:59

Strictly speaking this pen should not appear here as nowhere on it do the magic words Mabie Todd appear.  However I suspect that you will be interested.

 

I have always maintained that Mabie Todd never made a button filler; perhaps I am still correct?  Have a look:

 

fpn_1503507230__1.jpg

fpn_1503507262__2.jpg

fpn_1503507290__3.jpg

fpn_1503507321__4.jpg

fpn_1503507349__in_parts.jpg

 

The pen is clearly of good quality manufacture and I do like the section in the same marbled material as the rest of the pen.  Also note the pressure bar, stamped "Swan".  The Warranted nib, stamped USA is a poor wee thing really and a let-down.  I have a lovely old Swan 1 nib which, if it fits may well go into this fascinating and really rather nice pen.  Incidentally I have never seen a Swan clip like the one fitted to this pen.  Apart from the nib there is no clue as to where this pen was made.

 

Awaiting comments with interest!

 

Cob


Edited by Cob, 23 August 2017 - 17:01.

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


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#2 MarcShiman

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 17:51

Mystery button filler part 2. I'll do some detailed photos next time I'm home.

6481CC63-C047-46C6-8565-C0316932031B.JPG

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#3 Cob

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 18:04

Mystery button filler part 2. I'll do some detailed photos next time I'm home.

attachicon.gif6481CC63-C047-46C6-8565-C0316932031B.JPG

That one is a real beauty Marc.  Is it clearly a Mabie Todd product?

 

Cob


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


#4 PaulS

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 18:06

very interesting  -  especially the button design on a Blackbird, and never seen this clip on a Blackbird, though I've a Calligraph Prefect (Swan Self-Filler) with a chrome example of this clip, and a Calligraph 1D nib  ..........   I've also a M.T. leverless with this clip in g.f.

Can't see from your pix, but assume the terminal end of the clip is of the pinched crescent shape.

 

I like the almost liquorice appearance of the grey and black marbling.  



#5 eachan

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 19:07

It's starnge to see the "Blackbird" barrel imprint beside an image of a Swan.  Perhaps mabie Todd's ornithologist was taking a day off...


Regards,

Eachan


#6 peterg

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 19:18

Got a feeling that Blackbird was their swan song when the brand new super expensive Swan went (bleep) up, and Biro were desperately seeking something - anything - that would actually sell, just before the brand went up like a phoenix



#7 MarcShiman

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 19:31

That one is a real beauty Marc.  Is it clearly a Mabie Todd product?
 
Cob


Truthfully, I'd need to see it again. It has a weird hot stamp that says "Swan" or something like that, but full confirmation will have to wait until October when I'm reunited with it.

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#8 Greenie

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 02:38

That Swan Blackbird is an odd little duck, a cob-bled together sort of pen. Don't swallow your pride - it is definitely worth crowing about.  Owl bet it was late manufacture based on the rail shape of the clip. But heron lies the issue that gets my goose and drives me cuckoo:  One might swiftly tern it over and crane one's neck (whether thought out or on a lark), and look for markings on the feed and section.



#9 MarcShiman

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 05:24

That Swan Blackbird is an odd little duck, a cob-bled together sort of pen. Don't swallow your pride - it is definitely worth crowing about.  Owl bet it was late manufacture based on the rail shape of the clip. But heron lies the issue that gets my goose and drives me cuckoo:  One might swiftly tern it over and crane one's neck (whether thought out or on a lark), and look for markings on the feed and section.


Couple of shots of Grey Goose before posting?

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#10 Cob

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 11:40

Ha ha ha.  You fellows are all excellent; it's good to have a smile.  Peter, the quality of this pen does not imply the desperation you mention - I have seen those flimsy plastics Biro Swan efforts!

 

However there is news!

 

This morning I received an unsolicited follow-up message from the excellent seller that lifts the lid somewhat although more questions are raised. He kindly gave me his permission to quote his words.  Here's what he wrote:

 

By the way, I completely forgot to add a detail about this pen. I bought it long time ago from a Dutch seller. I'm somehow interested in Blackbirds and I guess that this particular pen was made by either a Dutch or Belgian company under licence from Mabie Todd in the 50s or very late 40s. The nib seems to be a replacement. I'd expect either a MT or German nib like Degussa.

 

So dating the pen is one thing - I would say late 'fifties give the pen's styling, though the quality would embarrass Biro Swan I think. And who was the mystery maker?  I thought that the feed looked European (i.e. not British!) and the seller's words seem to confirm the fact.

 

Rgds

 

Cob


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


#11 Cob

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 11:42

That Swan Blackbird is an odd little duck, a cob-bled together sort of pen. Don't swallow your pride - it is definitely worth crowing about.  Owl bet it was late manufacture based on the rail shape of the clip. But heron lies the issue that gets my goose and drives me cuckoo:  One might swiftly tern it over and crane one's neck (whether thought out or on a lark), and look for markings on the feed and section.

That is wonderful and very ingenious indeed.  

 

There are no markings anywhere other than those I have shown.

 

Rgds

 

Cob


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


#12 Greenie

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 14:12

Couple of shots of Grey Goose before posting?

 

I plan to duck that question.  Too chicken to admit the truth.



#13 Cob

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 17:34

I should opt for dram or two of The Famous Grouse myself...

 

Meanwhile I fitted the old Swan 1 nib.  It was the least I could do:

 

fpn_1503595501__with_swan_1_nib.jpg

 

Cob


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


#14 Greenie

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 00:33

It really appears to have the quality of a Swan.  Just so interesting in so many ways, with the clip, button fill, and especially the non-hard rubber section.  What a great find.



#15 mitto

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 13:03

Beautiful, anomalous, strange but quite desirable pen. :)

Congrats.
Khan

#16 Greenie

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 15:00

Here is the answer!     (and a new question - read the bottom of the papers - has anyone seen a Silver-Bird pen?)

 

ebay listing for a similar pen.

14 CRT SWAN BLACKBIRD PEN ORIGINAL BOX + GUARANTEE PAPER + PLASTIC HOLDER

 

It is the same clip, button filler, and states it is a Swan Blackbird right on the box.  Listing shows the box and papers, and the purchase date also on the papers showing 1964.

 

Seller states:

 

UNfortunately i wasn't able to get a detailed photo of the nib.  this is what is printed on the nib.  BLACKBIRD. 1  . 14 CRT .  ON THE SIDE OF THE PEN ENGRAVED " MY NAME. BELOW THAT SWAN. BLACKBIRD. REG. TRADE MARK. "

i PURCHASED THIS IN  the Oostvoorne Netherlands bookstore. November 16, 1964. as noted on the 12 month guarantee document.
 
s-l500.jpg s-l500.jpg s-l500.jpg s-l500.jpg


#17 peterg

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 17:29

Silver Bird is a new Swan product name to me.



#18 Cob

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 10:44

Brilliant!  Well done Greenie.

 

I note with interest that the script on the box is identical to that used by Biro Swan on a late Calligraph I once had.  I now wonder was this model an effort by a foreign subsidiary of the Biro company?  If so it is better quality I think than the Calligraph I had!

 

And I would love to see a Silver Bird!

 

Rgds

 

Cob


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


#19 Greenie

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 13:28

It is raining Blackbird button fillers on ebay!

Here are two with a different style knurled button

 

http://www.ebay.com/...PsAAOSwPe9ZsIpy

 

 

http://www.ebay.com/...0MAAOSwRvdZZMCr



#20 Cob

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 11:25

Greenie, 

 

Those pens are Mabie Todd products (at least the nibs are stamped MT) or possibly early Biro Swan, and I believe that the filling system is different from my button filler.  I suppose they date from the early 1950s.

 

Rgds

 

Cob


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




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