Thursday, October 20, 2016

Lownds Redux

I’ve had a few Edward Todds photographed and ready to write about, and the only reason I haven’t done so was because they were fairly ordinary, and the occasion to write something about them had not presented itself:

Starting from the bottom, there’s a combo missing a nib, using what appears to be Mabie’s October 3, 1854 patent, but long after the patent expired.  It’s marked simply “Edward Todd & Co. NY” on the barrel:

The second up from the bottom is also fairly common fare, noteworthy only because it has Edward Todd’s hallmark at the end of the barrel:

The top one, however, is the one which ties into yesterday’s story about Jacob Lownds.  It sports a wonderful Edward Todd “A” nib, size 5:

On the barrel is stamped “Edward Todd & Co. / Pat’d. Dec. 19, 71.”

The reference is to patent number 122,047, granted to Joseph Monaghan and Thomas Flynn, of New York (with Flynn assigning his interest to Monaghan).

Edward Todd, the original Todd in Mabie Todd, left Mabie Todd & Co. in 1868 (Edward’s older brother Henry remained with the firm, which is why Mabie Todd was able to continue using the name).  Edward Todd purchased another New York firm in 1871, Kurtz & Monaghan, renaming it Edward Todd & Co.

By the way, the history in the preceding paragraph comes from David Moak’s book, Mabie in America.

I haven’t seen a December 19, 1871 patent marked with the Kurtz & Monaghan name, which makes sense – Edward Todd & Co. appears in the 1871 New York City Directory, so the purchase would have happened early in the year.  I haven’t seen this mechanism with a “Pat. Applied For” imprint either – although I’d like to.

What is interesting about the Monaghan patent, though, it the way the pencil mechanism advances.   Just like a Lownds, you pull the extender outward, rotate it to engage the pin in a slot, then push it back in to advance the pencil into place.  Since the nib advances by a simple slider, well known in the trade by 1871, this “novel” pencil mechanism was the subject of Lownds’ patent 35 years earlier!

There’s one other interesting detail about the Monaghan patent:

George W. Mabee is clearly a typographical error: one of the witnesses to the patent was George W. Mabie, John Mabie’s son, who joined Mabie Todd & Co. as a clerk and took over for his father in 1873.  The timeline doesn’t quite make sense: if Edward Todd left Mabie, Todd & Co. in 1868, then purchased Kurtz & Monaghan in 1871, and George W. Mabie never left Mabie Todd, why would Mabie have witnessed Monaghan’s patent application?

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