Mabie Todd Blackbird Guide

Moderator: werner

Posts: 27
Joined: May 25th, 2018, 11:12 am

The end

Post by btine » June 25th, 2018, 1:15 pm

As I have already stated in the introduction I don't pursue Blackbirds anymore and what I have learnt belongs to the past. I did my best to present what I know but I'm aware there are more of my own assumptions than facts and the guide contains plenty of unsubstantiated claims and errors.

I'm leaving this guide unfinished, with missing pieces of information and illustrations, but I feel it's time to close this particular chapter.

Thank you for your time and reading, especially taking into account the fact how messy this guide is in its structure and my English language deficiencies!

Best wishes to all Blackbird fans!


Posts: 27
Joined: May 25th, 2018, 11:12 am

Re: 1911, and they are dandies, too! Well, 1910

Post by btine » August 3rd, 2018, 2:40 pm

To dispel any doubts about the early debut, according to the article in the WES from July 2012 the introduction of the Blackbird was preceded by the postcard advertising campaign which started in May 1910: ... 2F63120787.
btine wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 2:06 am
Earlier, I mentioned that Blackbirds likely predate creation of the British MT&Co Ltd in 1914 and that they were introduced as early as 1911. Well, I knew that I was onto something but couldn't remember why 1911. I often say that my memory is good but short. Indeed it is.

I was browsing my old notes and screenshots and found that the Blackird fountpen was mentioned and advertised that year in the Sketch: A Journal of Art and Actuality (1911, 75):

'5/- And they are dandies, too! This simple fountain pen does not claim to be equal to the world-renowned SWAN - though made by the same makers & gives exceptional value for a small sum - gold nib, iridium pointed, strong holder, large ink capacity.'

Then, in 1912, in the Bookseller (J. Whitaker and Sons, Limited, 1912) we can find another early advert:

'[Blackbird fountpen's] delightful smoothness, reliable action, its comfort and case, will surprise you. It is made for those who feel disinclined to pay 10s 6d. for a “ Swan." Gold Nib. Reliable Feed. Strong Holder'

Well, when we take into account that fountain pens used to be given as gifts and pen companies often adjusted new models launches for the Christmas season, we may guess (again!) that the Blackbird debuted in 1910.

The original price was 5 shillings and with the end of the WWI it increased to 6. The new safety cap self-filling pens were sold for 7s. 6d. when introduced in 1921. This price for the main line Blackbirds remained unchanged until the WWII, including BT200s.

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