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A Very Old Mabie Todd Swan


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Another antique! I think that dating the pen is fairly straightforward. On the barrel is stamped Mabie Todd & Co New York, but the section is stamped Swan 4500 M.T.B. This of course would refer to Mabie Todd & Bard which ceased in 1907, so I can reasonably presume that this pen dates from perhaps 1908 or thereabouts. Stamped also 4572 this represents a 4500 model with a short medium No 3 nib.

 

The pen incorporates a "plug feed" whereby the pen may be filled without unscrewing the section. There is also a gold overfeed, probably an early example. And the pen does what Mabie Todd claimed: it is always ready to write which it does very nicely!

 

Cob

 

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


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What a beautiful pen! Swans are rapidly becoming my favourites.

Mrs Lovett, you have excellent taste!!

 

C.

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


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Cob, that "Mabie, Todd & Bard" ceased in 1907 might very well be (the information in the web is without giving any sources), but "Mabie, Todd & Co" was apparently used in parallel. I have seen an advertisement from "&Co" which was supposed to be from 1901. It would be really interesting to do some ad research. Btw. I have one of these pens with an engraving from 1906, but I don't have it at hand and can't remember the full company name.

 

Got recently an "&Bard". Will provide photos, when I have decided on the book on with I will make the photos.

 

Cepasaccus

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I claim no knowledge of pen history, but I've never seen one like that. It is beautiful and I want one!

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I agree. A very interesting pen.

 

 

I must admit that I'm beginning to really enjoy Swan pens as well. They are attractive, write beautifully and are very well made. It's only a matter of time before I lash out on a fancy one with an overlay or gold trim. Unfortunately fancy equates to expensive. Life's short....

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Cob, that "Mabie, Todd & Bard" ceased in 1907 might very well be (the information in the web is without giving any sources), but "Mabie, Todd & Co" was apparently used in parallel. I have seen an advertisement from "&Co" which was supposed to be from 1901. It would be really interesting to do some ad research. Btw. I have one of these pens with an engraving from 1906, but I don't have it at hand and can't remember the full company name.

 

Got recently an "&Bard". Will provide photos, when I have decided on the book on with I will make the photos.

 

Cepasaccus

Well my source is David Moak's book, Mabie in America. There was of course a Mabie Todd & Co from 1860, (John Mabie & Edward Todd). Mabie Todd & Bard was formed in 1873, though the name Mabie Todd & Co continued to be used on the pencils manufactured by the company. Mabie, Todd & Co was incorporated in the State of New York in 1907.

 

Incidentally my 4572 is stamped "The Swan Pen Mabie, Todd & Co New York". On the end of the barrel is stamped 4572 with MED beneath it. Further round the mysterious letters PS-S. Have you any idea what these might represent?

 

I wrote hereabouts concerning a Mabie Todd & Bard eyedropper I have, a 3013.

 

C.

Edited by Cob

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


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I claim no knowledge of pen history, but I've never seen one like that. It is beautiful and I want one!

I must say I find the history of pen manufacture fascinating. It is frustrating though when one looks at the early catalogues and sees some of the amazing models made by all the great manufacturers. The prices raise a smile too! e.g. from Mabie Todd 1908 "Rolled Gold pocket clip 50c.!"

 

Cob

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


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My pen with a date from April 1906 is a Bard. It has two 18k repousse bands, the same GF clip and is stamped 4663 FINE at the end. The nib has a "OBLIQUE POINT MABIE ...." stamped and it is indeed oblique and a nail. The inside of the clip has "R(something) 302336" or so. The clip has traces of filing where there could have been an 18k stamp and this location doesn't look oxidised. So it might be 18k too. Maybe I should test it. No other imprints besides the name and date.

 

Cepasaccus

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My pen with a date from April 1906 is a Bard. It has two 18k repousse bands, the same GF clip and is stamped 4663 FINE at the end. The nib has a "OBLIQUE POINT MABIE ...." stamped and it is indeed oblique and a nail. The inside of the clip has "R(something) 302336" or so. The clip has traces of filing where there could have been an 18k stamp and this location doesn't look oxidised. So it might be 18k too. Maybe I should test it. No other imprints besides the name and date.

 

Cepasaccus

I should like to see a picture of that one; I presume it has the plug feed?

 

Cob

Edited by Cob

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


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Yes, it has a plug feed which is so plugged that I can't get the plug out even with pliers.

 

I will make photos.

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Yes, it has a plug feed which is so plugged that I can't get the plug out even with pliers.

 

I will make photos.

I look forward to the photos. You might get the plug out if you use a hairdryer - the essential tool on my bench!

 

Cob

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


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This is my 4663. I finally managed to pull the plug after some treatment with vitamins. The clip must also be 18k solid gold as I could sand and polish the filing marks away without showing any brassing.

 

Cepasaccus

post-91927-0-87329600-1435512053_thumb.jpg

post-91927-0-77537200-1435512084_thumb.jpg

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Gosh that is a beauty!

 

Do tell about the vitamins!

 

Best wishes

 

Cob

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


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A vitamin C solution to dissolve or soften the ink residues.

Really? Ascorbic acid?

 

Amazing, thanks

 

Cob

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


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Yes. It is an reducing agent and it is acidic. So it has both properties to keep or get iron in solution. Additionally it can bind well to metal ions. I had good success removing IG stains from shirts with it.

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Lovely pens!

 

I just posted some old (19th-century) pen ads in the history forum. Unfortunately, there was only Mabie Todd ad, and it is Mahie, Todd & Bard. And rather an odd advert at that. https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/uploads/imgs/fpn_1435334534__1902_elementary_school_journal_swan_fountain_pen_mabie_todd_and_bard.jpg

 

The links to the ads are here. https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/292921-19th-century-fountain-pen-ads-and-articles-from-making-of-america-e-texts/

 

“When the historians of education do equal and exact justice to all who have contributed toward educational progress, they will devote several pages to those revolutionists who invented steel pens and blackboards.” V.T. Thayer, 1928

Check out my Steel Pen Blog

"No one is exempt from talking nonsense; the mistake is to do it solemnly."

-Montaigne

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