A Mabie Todd Pen & Pencil Set

There will be quite a few photos in this article! In general, at first glance, this appears to be a Swan pen & pencil set. That’s what the box indicates and the nib is a Swan No 1.

The style and appearance would suggest that this is a late set, made sometime in the nineteen-fifties. The box, with its truncated triangle shape and imitation crocodile finish, is unusual and attractive.

Let’s have a closer look. The barrel imprint is “Blackbird Self-Filling Pen” and there is a Blackbird image on the clip of the rolled gold cap.

Fyne Poynt pencils were made to be sold by themselves as well as being paired with Blackbird or Swan sets, so it gives us no clue as to which this is.

To summarise, we have a Blackbird pen with a Swan nib in a Swan box. Though it is quite possible that this collection of disparate parts was assembled recently, we know from other pens and sets that in the company’s declining years Mabie Todd – or rather Biro Swan Ltd – cobbled together whatever happened to be in stock.

That’s what this is, I would say, but it is also a very attractive set, in this bright red that was last used in the thirties, matched beautifully with the rolled gold furniture and cap. Is it a Swan Set or a Blackbird set? Who cares! It’s just a beautiful set in its own right.

13 thoughts on “A Mabie Todd Pen & Pencil Set

  1. Deb, Lovely set indeed. Various combinations of this set are on and around p260 of Mr Hull’s wonderful book ..
    As you say ..could be ‘cobbled together’ but hey, it’s still not really a ‘frankenpen’, and is beautiful in its own right.

  2. Deb..I think the pencil is with the red capped Blackbird on p59 . So your
    ‘cobbled together’ could be the pen on p60 , the pencil on p59 …..
    and in a box like the one on p56.
    As you say either by ‘others’ , or by the company itself.
    …or not !?

  3. Hi Deb,

    very nice! Semi-Blackbird or not…

    I have a Swan Leverless with such a cap (no clip anymore), the barrel looks like an early L212/60 but is half a cm longer. So like a L202/RG without gold plated barrel… Old style Swan logo here.
    Can’t find such combination in Steven Hull’s book. Custom order?

    Best wishes
    Jens

      1. Dear Deb,

        the photos on the auction site were not too bad:
        https://www.ebay.de/itm/Vintage-SWAN-Füllfederhalter/323936128837
        If you need better ones, tell me…
        The pen has no model number, the clip is missing and seems to be mounted differently then usual.
        It’s barrel had fragments of a original Swan sac in it, so should have been unused for decades.
        The first owner has posted the cap often, as the marks tell. So I suspect the cap is contemporary.

        Best
        Jens

        Btw: If you like to email me take the new one used here…

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