Blackbird Fountpen Eyedropper Filler From World War I
September 9, 2014 5 Comments
During the First World War Mabie Todd’s British manufacturing effort was turned over to munitions manufacture and the associated company in the USA provided stocks of Swan and Blackbird pens to supply the British market. I say “associated” because during 1914 the USA still held the parent company but at the end of that year a new British company was established to take over all non-US operations.
The companies maintained links with each other and it is my assumption that these pens continued to be supplied throughout the war. In any case, it makes them rather easy to date: they are either 100 years old or just a little less. This particular example could have been made yesterday. The black hard rubber is as dark and shiny as the day it was made. The chasing is crisp and the pen is remarkably free of the scratches that accrue over such a long time.
It’s a nice example of allied cooperation, and the words “made in USA during war” make the pen a little special, particularly from the point of view of a collector. Otherwise, it’s as simple and straightforward as a pen can be. It’s not quite two straight tubes; the barrel is slightly tapered at both ends. The section has impressively deeply cut threads which keep the ink were it’s meant to be – inside the barrel.
The nib is fine and a little pressure will invoke noticeable line variation. I find, when I use a pen like this, that I wonder if all the “progress” in the last hundred years is just superfluous. What more do you need than a pen that writes as well as this one does and holds as much ink as this one does?