1935 Blackbird

This 1935 Blackbird had quite a bit of work done on it before it came to me.  The broad gold-plated cap band was probably fitted to cover a cap lip crack.  It won’t crack now, that’s for sure!

It also had a Swan clip.  It was fine so long as you didn’t look too closely but I couldn’t leave it like that.  A search through the spares revealed a cracked cap with the required clip, correct if shabby.  With the help of the heat gun the clips were swapped easily.  The replacement clip has lost some plating but at least it’s a Blackbird clip.

These flat-top Blackbirds are very attractive.  This one is in the /41 pattern, Almond Green.  Like this one, many of the 1930s celluloid patterns are superb.  On the end of the barrel is inscribed BB2B/G2.  I really can’t parse that.  The final “G2” is a complete mystery to me.  I see similar, possibly larger pens in Stephen Hull’s book.  They are designated “G3” so perhaps size comes into it. Much has been learned about Mabie Todd mysteries in recent years but I’m glad there are some puzzles left for us to gnaw upon.

6 thoughts on “1935 Blackbird

  1. Deb, These early Blackbirds really are gorgeous….and as you say , sometimes a puzzle too. The designation BB2/. Seems to have been put on a few of the ‘birds’ from differing times !

    Interestingly, I have two of the same model , that came to me with Swan clips too !!
    I don’t have the supply of spares sufficient to do a transplant on them, so they will probably be staying like that .
    One wonders what the story is with this phenomenon ?

    I like how the ones like yours have ‘Blackbird’ on the cap, the clip, the barrel ,the section, the feed and the nib !! also that some of the colours were exclusive to them, being absolutely stunning.

    For having supposedly been a ‘second tier’ model from M.T, they are definitely not a noticeable drop in quality , and their nibs were equally wonderful.

    My favourite ones are the longer BB2/s with the stepped clip like the SF230s etc.

    1. I’m surprised to hear that you have two of these with Swan clips! I’m sure mine was a replacement as there’s a small amount of heat distortion at the top of the cap and the clip slid out unusually easily. There have been Blackbird models that were clearly inferior to the Swan but not this one.

      1. Deb. I also have one with an ‘arrow’ clip !!
        Maybe the original ones are prone to falling out or …..breaking ? 🤷‍♂️
        I did buy the arrow clip one knowing it was not correct, but the price was laughingly cheap.
        The other two I didn’t know they were like that, and the seller either didn’t know, or tried one on. !!

      2. Which arrow clip? Parker? I would like to see a photo of that. I’ve seen a lot of Blackbirds from this period with broken clips. Perhaps this was an area where savings were made. Mind you, the similar Swan clips break too. At least the broken clips are easy to replace, unlike the stepped clip which can be very time consuming and of course spares are rare.

  2. Deb
    Do you have a trick to remove the stub end of a broken clip like these? I often find there isn’t enough of the old clip protruding to grapbto pull on .

    1. Sometimes it’s utterly impossible, but not often. Plenty dry heat and very narrow forceps usually works for me. I’ve also used the tip of a very narrow flat blade screwdriver to push back the plastic (dry heat again) at the bottom where it won’t be seen if I can’t get it back in place after fitting the new clip. That’s often just enough to give the forceps a grip.

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