Hello, readers. Don’t worry, I am still around and have plenty more things to show and write about. I just haven’t had time to produce new images. I’ll be back!
Kapoff, from American Pencil Co., has a bottle opener on top —
The metal piece on this Eagle pencil says “Spark-Tip” —
I once thought it was for producing sparks (but why?) or lighting matches, but I couldn’t see how it would work. Now I think it is for testing spark plugs, although I don’t know exactly how.
My favorites of course are these Tape-Measure pencils —
The tapes go to 18 inches.
Philatelists are familiar with overprints on old postage stamps. Often they were used to alter the postal value. A similar concept was applied to a pencil —
You can see that the original No. 2 imprint was changed to 3 —
Apparently the manufacturer realized that the 2 was an error and made this correction. Another possibility: They made these to fill a rush order for No. 3s, hoping the customer wouldn’t notice anything suspicious.
You may have noticed that some colors copy better than others on Xerox and other copying machines that you’ve used. While this phenomenon is sometimes an annoyance, it has practical applications, such as not reproducing alignment lines and written comments.
There are, of course, specialized pencils for these applications. There have been many different copying technologies and purposes, and pencils designed for optimal performance in each situation were produced.
Dixon produced an extensive “Fax” line of such pencils. I have a set that came in a sales folder with information sheets —
Here are some double-ended varieties from other manufacturers:
(The No. 625 is from Richard Best.)
A sleeve with movable needle arm makes these pencils into a drawing compass —
United States Pencil Co., an American pencil company —
USCO 486 varieties:
USCO Electro 486, a “transitional species” between USCO Grafine Lead 486 and USCO Electro 100:
USCO Electro 100:
Three different expressions for 2-1/2:
The only other place I’ve seen 2-5/10 is on Ticonderogas.
Nearly identical Evergreen copying pencils made in Czechoslovakia and in USA:
An older ad showing that the Czech versions were actually made by L & C Hardtmuth:
I have seen an ad indicating that Our Drummer is also from U.S. Pencil Co. —
Some of the major German pencil companies had subsidiaries in the United States. The Swan Pencil Co., based in New York, was a subsidiary of Schwan. Swan produced several brands —
Othello and Fortuna are major Schwan brands.
Tiger 440 may be original to Swan —
As evidenced by the wartime plastic and cardboard ferrules, Swan continued to produce and sell pencils during WWII.
Often I’ll present pencils having unusual shapes and sizes. One of my favorites is the “tapered” shape. Tapered pencils all seem to be quite old —
I find them uncomfortable to hold. It feels like the pencil is getting squeezed backward.
This Egypt-themed one has a square cross-section, which makes the eraser end a pyramid —
This one is very special —
It is a Mongol 482, but very different from the standard model. It has a hexagonal cross-section that transitions to round and tapers down.
Advertising pencils could also be tapered —
I also have a tapered mechanical pencil —
A sliding tab pushes the lead forward.
The pencil I used for the header is a beautiful thing —
It is glossy black with gold lettering that likely has real gold, as there is little or no tarnish after 130 years. Its logo is the most detailed of the varieties that have been on Eagle pencils. And whatever sharpened it left a nice scalloped pattern.
London 1862, Paris 1867, and Phila(delphia) 1876 refer to international exhibitions at which Eagle pencils won awards.
Eco-friendly pencils with unpainted wood are popular (or at least produced) these days, but that’s not what these are —
They appear to be samples used to test pencil manufacturing processes. V.D. here stands for Venus Drawing, I believe.
The similar one below is apparently a test for an Autograph by Venus —
The Autograph brand was around for a long time, in many varieties. This one has a matte white panel where you can write your name — your autograph. Japanese “kakikata” pencils for children often have this feature.
Another pair, maybe also for testing —
Discerning collectors have noticed that some Eagle and Eberhard Faber pencils have a small dot added to the standard design. The dot may represent some aspect of the pencil’s production. An example of this variation for Eagle Turquoise Drawing —
On the reverse is what at first glance appears to be the common “dotted X” decorative feature. But it is missing one of the dots. In fact, a variety of strange symbols can be found on these pencils —
I’m pretty sure that they are used for quality control purposes. It looks like the various shapes with different numbers of dots are some kind of code, perhaps for different dates, equipment, and sources of material.
Here’s an interesting pair of old pencils. Although they are from different companies, their designs are too similar to be coincidental —
The Handy Pencil was made by American Pencil Co., while the Cock Pencil is from Staedtler. They both start with BBB in the same style.
Following that, they both have appropriate logos — the Handy Pencil has a nice pair of hands, while the Cock Pencil sports a handsome
rooster. If one is imitating the other, I’d say it is American’s Handy, which has “Register” (an error?) in place of the “Registered” printed on Staedtler’s Cock
These are dressmaker’s pencils, for marking patterns on fabric. The brush is for wiping the mark off afterward, as ordinary erasers would be inefficient.
The top three are somewhat vintage. I’ve got some newer Dritzs, but they are mint in package, and I wouldn’t want to limit their investment value by removing them. That’s tongue in cheek (an idiom, my foreign readers), of course. Yet I’ve always been reluctant to remove pencils from their blister packaging, even though I’d prefer to put them with my other pencils and save space. And eventually, the glue on those packages disintegrates and the pencils fall out anyway.
Herbert Hoover ran against Al Smith in the 1928 U.S. presidential election. Pencils topped with their likenesses, and others with broom-related slogans, were part of the campaigns —
The candidates battled head to head, but Hoover’s ultimately won.
In honor of the upcoming presidential and general elections in the United States, presented here is a collection of specialized pencils for marking ballots. All of them have (or had) a means of being attached to a voting booth — either a built-in string, or a ring or hole for attaching a string. Several have indelible leads, although they don’t say so.
Some of these special pencils came into my possession after being literally ripped off. I personally would never do such a thing.
The Amazing La-Stil Pencil is round, yet doesn’t (easily) roll! Novel, useful, and great for clever advertising slogans. Only $0.0435 each, in bulk —
Its secret is a piece of lead, embedded off-center near the end —
You can make a real LEAD pencil out of it! —
DO NOT EAT
Pencil Exchange sounds like a venue for trading pencils, but actually it was a pencil manufacturer —
It seems to have been a precursor to, or early alternate name for, the General Pencil Company, judging from the matching brand names and numbers.
Kimberly 525 varieties:
There’s a newer one with green lettering. I typically don’t have new varieties.
These blue colored pencils all have numbers ending in 3:
Two Splendors, nearly the same, but the upper one doesn’t have a No 2. It also lacks crimp marks on the WWII-era plastic ferrule.
Pencils from Stanford University, my Alma Mater. These are from 1980-1991. Note that the price of a pencil gradually increased from 20 cents to 39 cents. Seems like a lot, but it’s less than the rate tuition increased.
Rexall Stores, formerly called United Drug Co., had their own brands of pencils —
It looks like they changed their Old Colony brand to Cascade, perhaps because Cascade is a peppier name. Yet the old-style lettering remained.
Worth the wait, I hope: Pencils with animal names (the type of animal, not Fluffy), having animal logos when possible. I’ve limited it to one per animal, for the most part.
Eberhard Faber’s generic Fish looks like it might be on a platter.
Birds from Wallace Pencil Co:
Reptiles and Amphibians:
Of all possible animals, who’d have thought that the camel would be the most popular? These are from makers in five different countries: United States, Japan, Germany, China, and Korea.
I don’t know what a “suncow” is, but I say it’s a mythical creature.
Finally, we have the Golden ones:
Below are closer views of animal logos. Click on them for pictures twice as large.
I recently got an iPad and found that large pictures sometimes display with low resolution.
Wooden golf pencils: for marking score cards, small enough for a shirt pocket, cheap, factory sharpened, and no eraser. (Previously I showed some mechanical types.)
Let’s start with several from Hawaii, where I used to live —
And then some brand-name types —
The Dixon is obviously a truncated Ticonderoga. But I haven’t seen a Ticonderoga of that design. Probably it was never sold, and the existing stock made into golf pencils (similarly to the Student).
Occasionally the product number associated with a particular brand of pencil will change with time, such as when Dixon’s Ticonderoga 1386 became 1388. Usually this change is accompanied by an update in design. But here are a couple of pairs for which only the number is different:
I suspect that for these, the product number printed on the pencil depended on the manner in which it was sold, for example individually or in a packaged set.
The famous comic-strip characters Blondie, Dagwood, and Popeye were honored in a set of pencils made by Linton —
Their likenesses appear on special Ad-Tip ferrules, which were more commonly used for product advertising. (I’ll show examples another time.)
Watch out Dagwood, Popeye is eyeing your wife!