Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 144,294 pages of information and 230,176 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Mabie, Todd and Co

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June 1893.
May 1894.
July 1894.
March 1896.
August 1898.
December 1898.
January 1899.
July 1900.
February 1901.
September 1902.
October 1903.
October 1908.
February 1911. Swan Fountain Pen.
June 1911.
August 1911.
August 1918.
July 1919.
March 1922. Swan Fount Pens.
June 1922. Blackbird.
November 1946.
December 1946.
January 1947.
March 1947.
December 1948. Swan pens.

Swan of Swan House, 133-35 Oxford Street, London, W1. Telephone: Museum 5050. Telegraphic Address: "Goldquill, (Phone) London". Cables: "Goldquill, London". (1929)

of 41 Park Street, Mayfair, London, W1. Telephone: Mayfair 4181 (6 lines). Cables: "Goldquill, London". Factories at Swan pen works, Park Royal, London and Swan Ink Works, Liverpool. (1947)

Established 1884

Mabie Todd was a firm whose partners' involvement in gold nib and pencil manufacture dated to the 1840s.

1860 Mabie, Todd and Co was established in New York City.

1873 The company was reformed as Mabie Todd and Bard, and continued to offer a wide range of top quality pens, pencils, and accessories of innovative design.

c.1878 Their first fountain pen, the Calligraphic, was introduced around 1878, utilizing the patents of pen inventor William W. Stewart.

1884 Export to Great Britain began, and a London office was opened.

1890s Production of Swan fountain pens appears to have begun by 1890; Swan overlay eyedroppers were among the most beautiful and ornate pens of their era.

1895 Advert on this page for Swan pen. [1]

1904 Advert on this page for Swan pen. [2]

c.1907 Mabie, Todd and Bard reverted to Mabie, Todd and Co around 1907, when it was incorporated in the state of New York.

c.1909 Manufacture of pens in Britain appears to have begun.

1914 Mabie, Todd and Co Limited, was established as a British firm, which at the beginning of 1915 acquired all Mabie Todd assets outside of the USA. By now there were branches in Manchester, Glasgow, Paris, Brussels, New York, Chicago, Toronto and Sydney, and the company had become the largest gold pen manufacturers in the world.

1914 Manufacturers of gold pens and reservoir pens. Specialities: fountain pens and stylos, gold pens, holders, pencil cases etc. [3]

1929 British Industries Fair Advert for 'Swan' Self-Filling Pens and 'Swan' Ink. Manufacturers of "Swan" and "Blackbird" Fountain Pens, "Swan" Ink for home and commercial use, Endorsing Ink for rubber stamps, "Jackdaw" Pens, Stylographic Pens, Propelling Pencils, Gold Nibs, and accessories. (Stationery Section - Stand No. R.44) [4]

1930s Manufacture continued in the USA until the late 1930s, with quality and production volume declining sharply towards the end.

Meanwhile, the British Mabie Todd firm went from success to success, and the Swan was widely advertised outside the USA as "the pen of the British Empire".

Post-WWII Although the company initially prospered in the immediate post-war period, production ceased before the end of the '50s - another casualty of the ballpoint era.

1947 British Industries Fair Advert for Swan Fountain Pen. (Comparing with Swan advert of 1897 as Mabie, Todd and Bard). Manufacturers of "Swan" Fountain Pens, "Cygnet" Stylos, "Swan" Ink. "Fynepoint" Pencils. (Stationery and Printing Section - Olympia, 1st Floor, Stand No. H.2130) [5]

  • Note:
    • There has been much confusion about the relation of Edward Todd to Mabie Todd. Edward Todd was one of the original partners of Mabie, Todd and Co; he left the firm in 1868 and set up on his own a few years later.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] History World
  2. [2] History World
  3. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  4. 1929 British Industries Fair Advert 159; and p109
  5. 1947 British Industries Fair Advert 434; and p174