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Last Updated 02/02/2019 07:19:52
From Subject - Books About Pens

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Mabie in America

Writing Instruments from 1843 to 1941

By David L. Moak

ISBN 1-932433-90-02

Publisher: (privately printed)

Publishing Year: 2007

3rd Edition

1St Print

Language: English

Book Format: Hard Cover

Book Dimensions: 23.5x31.5cm

245 Pages



"The history of the English branch of Mabie Todd (& Bard) has been written about extensively, most notably by Stephen Hull in many articles in the Writing Equipment Society. However, published research concerning the founding and development of the company in the United Stated has been somewhat neglected and definitely lacking in documentation, with consideration going to the histories of L.E. Waterman, Parker, Sheaffer, etc. Little or no information concerning the Mabie family has found its way into the pen reference books currently on the market. This volume represents an attempt to redress that oversight, and to provide a basis for additional research.

State and company records relating to the earliest days of the relevant companies do not appear to exist, but New York City directories provide information about the appearance and location of the Mabies, Todds, and Bards. Traditionally, New Yorkers changed home or business addresses, if necessary, on May 1st of each year. Companies that issued city directories would send teams out to take a census, door to door, on that date and for the next few weeks. The directory would be published as soon as compilation of the material was complete. Inclusion in the directory was free. The directory companies made their money by charging for subscriptions. Copies cost $ 2 at first, $ 2.5 by 1858. the directories typically listed public services, the work and home addresses or individuals, and addresses of businesses.
A careful examination of the directories allows one to determine when the various personalities involved were working at the same address, and to which company that address belonged. Examples of selected directory listings from two different years follow:

1842 – 43: Rauch, John H., silver pencils, 62 Nassau, h. 22 Centre
1845 – 46: Mabie, John, pencil cases, 164 Broadway, h. Williamsburg;
Rauch, John, pencil cases, 164 Broadway, h. 48 Ann;
Rauch & Co. pencil cases, 164 Broadway.

The 1842 – 43 listing indicated that John Rauch was a maker of silver pencils and that his business address was 62 Nassau. By 1845 – 46, his business has moved to 164 Broadway, he has established Rauch & Co. at that address, and John Mabie is working with him. Home addresses are listed as well. It should be noted that the directory does not group related parties together. For example, John Mabie’s listing is not grouped with John Rauch’s as shown above.

Directory listings from 1842 until 1906 were examined to reconstruct the development of the various Mabie and related entitles as well as the persons involved in those companies. Conclusions drawn from this research were verified by consulting the R.G. Dun & Co. Collection, which is housed in the Baker Library at Harvard University. R.G. Dun & Co., which later became Dun & Bradstreet, began preparing business reports in the 1840s. Correspondents interviewed businessmen and women as well as their creditors and competitors. The primary purpose was to rate the companies’ credit worthiness, but other details of importance were also recorded. The collection, consisting of 2580 volumes of handwritten reports, was donated to the Baker Library by Dun & Bradstreet in 1962.

These and other sources were considered in preparing the following account of the formation of what would become Mabie, Todd & Co. How did the company begin? who were the principals in the company as it developed ? what pens were produced and where ? When did the Mabie family bow out of the picture?"




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