Though it isn’t as colourful as the last Jackdaw I wrote about, this Self-Filling Pen is interesting and it’s a great writer. There’s a general resemblance to the mid- to late Thirties self-coloured Blackbirds that I wrote about here: http://wp.me/p17T6K-7m . I think we can take the date as being the same, so this is a pretty old pen. Despite that, and despite being the economy model of the Mabie Todd range, it’s in fine shape. There’s the odd scratch and scuff from use and there’s a little pitting on the lever. In all, it’s in better condition than many higher-priced pens of the period.
Of course this isn’t true of these pens in general. Most didn’t survive at all, which is why this is quite uncommon pen. This model was the sturdy workhorse for a generation of school-children,misused, abused, dropped and thrown into school-bags full of books. Children are remarkably efficient pen-killers. The kid who owned this one must have been the exception. You are entitled to suspect that he or she was the teacher’s pet and a true nerd. But even this child had a moment of abandon and dropped the pen or threw it a tormentor, because the original nib has gone and it has been replaced with a delightful Blackbird replacement.
There are some pens that you know are champions the moment you touch the paper, before you even form the first letter and this is one of those. It’s a semi-flexible – a fine without pressure expanding safely to a broad. Using it as a fine it has that precision that the best pens have, and it retains that pretty well when it’s stretched. I’d rather a pen like this than the most extreme wet noodle. It’s a real writer’s dream.
Many thanks go to Paul Leclercq for the pleasure of studying and writing with this pen.