National Pencil Company was one of a cluster of manufacturers based in Shelbyville, Tennessee, “The Pencil City” (after starting in Atlanta).
National Copying varieties:
Here are pairs of pencils that are the same or nearly so, but with one painted and the other having clear varnish:
These are some very old Eagle mechanical pencils (or leadholders):
They are called Eagle Automatic, or they appear to be that brand. (The last three have no visible name but have Eagle patent dates imprinted on metal parts.) The model numbers of the first and third appear to be 802 and 865.
Here is a box label:
I find it interesting that there seem to be differently labeled pencils for different leads, even though the pencils holding the leads may be otherwise identical. Maybe the clutch is slightly different for different leads, or maybe it is simply (if somewhat extravagantly) to help the user identify the lead. Experts?
In honor of the recent 238th anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence in 1776, I present to you a very special pencil produced for the 100th anniversary in 1876.
Appropriately, it is Centennial, from the American Lead Pencil Company.
The pencil is triangular, with red, white, and blue sides:
It shows a patent date of 1873:
I also have this Centennial 1876 made somewhat later by Dixon. But in my opinion, it’s not quite as nice:
Wallace Pencil Company, Missouri, USA (acquired by Dixon in 1982) —
Graphite and copying brands:
From Georg Büttner’s site about German pencil companies in the Nuremberg area, here’s what I gather (imperfectly — I don’t speak German) about the relationship between these companies:
G.W. Sussner founded a pencil company in 1846. Moritz Nopitsch founded a company in 1861, which was passed on to his son Gebrüder Nopitsch. Nopitsch and Sussner were joined in 1900. In 1925, the company was named Glocken (in English, Bell); the name was acquired from another company named Glocken. (Was that whole company acquired?)
M. Nopitsch and Sussner:
Some of the older hexagonal pencils have what appears to be factory sharpening in the form of six facets —
J.S. Staedtler is another (see Swan) German pencil company that had a manufacturing subsidiary in the United States. Hackensack and Monteville, New Jersey, are locations mentioned on the pencils.
Some of the brands have German counterparts, while many (Competitive, Deadline, Pinstripe, and others) are only American, as far as I know.
A round Eagle Mirado, paired with the hexagonal version:
While it’s fairly common for a particular brand of pencil to be made in different forms, usually the models are given different product numbers (Mongol 480 and 482, for example). Here, both are 174.
From time to time I’ll be exhibiting pencils with errors or odd features, grouped into categories, of course. This post will feature problems with pencil tips.
But does “tip” refer to the end of the pencil that may have an eraser (its usual meaning), or to the sharpened end (which seems better described)? The ambiguity of this term has always bugged me. I will mean the former, usually.