Thursday, December 17, 2009

Featured Pen - Mabie Todd Swan SM 205/86

The following information is taken from David Nishimura's website, Vintage Pens and Writing Equipment:

"One of the longest-lived makers of writing equipment, Mabie Todd was a firm whose partners' involvement in gold nib and pencil manufacture dated back to the 1840s; Mabie, Todd & Co. itself was established in 1860 in New York City.

The company was reformed as Mabie Todd & Bard in 1873, and continued to offer a wide range of top quality pens, pencils, and accessories of innovative design. Their first fountain pen, the Calligraphic, was introduced around 1878, utilizing the patents of pen inventor William W. Stewart. Production of "Swan" fountain pens appears to have begun by 1890; Swan overlay eyedroppers were among the most beautiful and ornate pens of their era. Mabie, Todd & Bard reverted to Mabie, Todd & Co. around 1907, when it was incorporated in the state of New York.

Export to Great Britain began early, and a London office was opened in 1884. Manufacture of pens in Britain appears to have begun around 1909; in 1914, Mabie, Todd & Co, Limited, was established as a British firm, which at the beginning of 1915acquired all Mabie Todd assets outside of the USA. Manufacture continued in the USA until the late 1930s, with quality and production volume declining sharply towards the end. Meanwhile, the British Mabie Todd firm went from success to success, and the Swan was widely advertised outside the USA as "the pen of the British Empire." Although the company initially prospered in the immediate postwar period, production ceased before the end of the '50s -- another casualty of the ballpoint era.

There has been much confusion about the relation of Edward Todd to Mabie Todd. Edward Todd was one of the original partners of Mabie, Todd & Co.; he left the firm in 1868 and set up on his own a few years later.

This profile depends heavily upon David Moak's original research, which is now available on CD-ROM here; his digital book corrects the many misconceptions that have long circulated about this pioneering company and the men who ran it."

I'm going to leave you with the above and photos of this pen. It is one of my absolute favorites.

Click to enlarge: (paper is Bloc Rhodia No 16)


phonelady said...

that is a beautiful pen and glad it is in your care . well slowly getting better day by day on all kinds of meds my dear . we shall talk soon .

bleubug said...

Wow! Fantastic pen. It's gorgeous. :)

dandelion said...

What a beautiful pattern. Your closeups of the pattern creates cravings!

Sam said...

That has got to be one of the nicest fountain pens I have seen in a very, very long time. I hope you have a great time with it. :)

House of Pens said...

It is a very beautiful pen. Is the pattern form using many small pieces of mother-of-pearl?

Julie (Okami) said...

No, the material is plastic and the pattern is in the plastic. I'm no expert on the methods of producing this so I cannot provide any further information.

bleubug said...

I think it must have been a bit of an art form to make all those patterns in old celluloid pens. This page gives a glimpse into how it was done.

Look towards the bottom for the checkers pattern celluloid where the blank is partly lathed. Just looking at this makes me want to make a pen!

House of Pens said...

I have the same feeling when I look at those beautiful celluloid.

Vintage Pens said...

Great pen!
I love Mabie Todds. My favorite is Swan 44 Eternal

G.S. aka frostdoll said...

Oooh, I have acquired the same pen! Yours looks lovely and if it writes like mine it's even lovelier!

Found this link while I was looking for similar pens, hoping to find something that might indicate a suitable replacement cap(pen was a bargain, couldn't leave it even if the cap was damaged, I'd take any colour of cap just to be able to carry it around and use it!)

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