Mabie Todd Blackbird 5261



This Blackbird 5261 is in splendid condition, almost as if it came out of the shop today. Actually, it has been used but perhaps very little. I flushed blue ink out of it. The sac that I removed appeared to have been the original. The chasing is nice and sharp, as are the barrel and cap imprints. The chrome plating on both clip and lever is excellent. It is an adequately sized pen at 12.5 cm. The nib is medium and semiflexible.
Looking at this pen, I wonder what is the difference between Blackbird and Swan. I know that gold has been saved on the nib of the Blackbird: it’s both shorter and thinner, but otherwise I struggle to see any difference in quality. This pen is very similar to smaller black chased Swan lever fillers of the same period. Set them side-by-side where you can’t see the imprints and you would have difficulty in telling them apart.
Considering the splendid condition of this pen I suspect that it has been in a box until very recently. You just don’t see 1930s pens as bright and shiny as this if they’ve been kicking around in a drawer.



8 thoughts on “Mabie Todd Blackbird 5261

  1. This is not the first time that I have been astonished at your ironclad will and generosity to all of us, Deb.Truthfully, if I were the seller of this one, I would keep it for my own private collection. I must agree that the vintage vs condition of this pen are beyond belief….close to miraculous!
    Stuart (across the pond)

      1. This is also the way I see my “collection”, Deb, with a little edge of romance. My obssession with fountain pens does’nt revolve around the diktat “I have to have the whole series, models,etc.” My collection is not about “series”, but “love stories”. My quest for pens is the quest for the idyllic pen: always the same “coup de foudre” for different ones.

  2. ‘love at first sight’ is a great thing – perhaps it’s how the fairer sex see collectibles. Blokes tend to be obsessional when it comes to collecting – they desire what is rare and at times could almost murder for something which helps them to complete their list, and which others might want but can’t have – bit sad really:(
    But am sure you can have a foot in both camps – the yearning to own something that was held by another perhaps 100 years ago – that might tell a few stories if only it could talk. I get the feeling that we’re hung up on history more than we think — that’s all of us except Deb, of course, who finds it easy to part with beautiful pens:)

    As individuals we are, if nothing else, subjective, what we see in pens is what we want to see – an expression of our own emotional view of life.

    Is there really just one idyllic pen I wonder?:) I don’t see any obvious ‘love stories’ in my pens – but for me they represent a time gone by – a slower pace of life when we all wrote cursive joined up writing with a fountain pen, and there were ‘standards’ in life – so I guess for some of us it’s all about nostalgia.

  3. We are at the same place. Idyllic in an orphean, platonic sense. A nostalgic and unending quest for a lost ideal, for an epiphany that we aim to retrieve. Vintage fountain pens are objects that kept an eminent and vivid trace of that loss.

  4. Regarding Deb’s comment as to the lack of obvious difference between Blackbirds and Swans – and bearing in mind that I’ve only a dozen M.T. pens with which to form an opinion – I’d offer the suggestion that post 1920 Swans are overall a tad longer and possibly given to greater bling than Jackdaws and Blackbirds.
    As a perceived view of the status of these ‘birds’, no doubt folk would think of Swans as being more grand than a mere blackbird or Jackdaw. But then again I’ve a mid 1950’s Swan that looks very bland.
    Pity that I can’t attach pix, but I’ve what appears to be a c. 1928 s.f. engine turned completely gold filled Swan, although lacking hall marks (which I assume is because it is stamped ‘MADE IN U.S.A.’) – this pen appears in Andreas Lambrou’s book where he includes it under U.K. made pens. Judging by the books, only some of the very early eye dropper Blackbirds might equal the bling on this pen.
    Another Swan I have is a SF 230, decorated with double gilt bands on the barrel, and a 4mm red ripple disc just below the gilt blind end cap – with a red ripple flat jewel in it’s centre.

    Just my twopenn’th:)

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