Blackbird Fountpen Eyedropper Filler From World War I


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?



5 thoughts on “Blackbird Fountpen Eyedropper Filler From World War I

  1. I like the sharp chasing :]

    I admin a few of my modern pens look a little worn despite newer materials and all. The slender pen does remind me of the older Onoto-style FPs a little.

  2. I have a WW1 Swan No 2 eyesplotter very similar to your Blackbird with a beautiful USA nib, and I agree whole-heartedly about ‘progress’!

    My pen has been used and used until the tipping has gone, the chasing is smooth, the imprint barely visible, and the rubber brown, yet it is the most delightful writer and stays inked in my pen pot. I love pens with history!


Leave a Reply to goodwriterspens Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.