This box is rather shabby, discoloured and worn, but that’s hardly surprising. It’s more than a century old. What’s inside is also more than a century old but there’s nothing shabby about it!
It’s a Blackbird Fountpen, made around 1914 and the black hard rubber is like new, black as night and with chasing so sharp it could cut you. It’s a beautiful pen in first class condition.
Blackbirds were the economy models yet this pen retains all its original beauty while most Swans of the period have faded. Of course the crisp chasing indicates that the pen was not much used but still, the condition is exceptional.
These pens and Swans of the same period were the first Mabie Todd pens not to use the over-and-under feed. It has a plain feed, somewhat similar to those Waterman made during the same time, but what a leap forward into modernity it is! This pen is a practical everyday user, whereas one might feel the need to be rather more cautious when using its predecessors. It does not have the Blackbird image which appeared on later pens.
The nib looks as though it might have been dropped and straightened at some point. It looks quite good and writes very well so I decided not to tamper with it. It is a flexible stub, one of the chief delights of calligraphers and those who like to add a little flair to their writing.
The Fountpen was, as you might expect, a success and quite a few have survived all those years. Six or seven years later it would undergo changes. The slip cap would be replaced with a screw type and it would become a lever-filler. You might say those changes make it an entirely different pen but the size and balance remain the same. I think those changes are incidental and a Fountpen remains a Fountpen.