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:
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.
Mallard Pencil Company, Georgetown, Kentucky.
Some advertising pencils advertise themselves as models of ad pencils available from suppliers. They often have a brand name and product number, but collectors don’t consider them to be “brand-name” pencils. —
Here are wood-toned types:
These show some companies that produced ad pencils:
Indiana Pencil Co and Union Pencil Co also made brand-name pencils, as shown in my Obscure U.S. Pencil Companies post. Pencil Specialty Company was a division of American Pencil Co. It is often ambiguous whether or not specific pencil suppliers did more than the printing, but its pencil confirms that Wilkerson-Akers did manufacture pencils. Note that Cincinnati Pencil Company was located in Nitro, West Virginia.
One of the first wooden pencils I ever spent a chunk of money on was a very old and unusual one that I had never seen before, from the Clark Indelible Pencil Company of Northampton, Massachusetts. I obtained several varieties since then.
These specialized pencils were made for writing permanently on cloth and other materials.
The active part of the pencil is integrated with a protective tube:
A patent from 1866 (http://todayinsci.com/Events/Patent/IndeliblePencilPatent56180.htm) describes in detail how the pencil was made. The indelible ingredient in the lead is silver nitrate. I remember this substance from my high school Chemistry class because it gave us permanent (until the skin wore off) stains on our hands.
At first I thought that the leads were square. But the patent describes how round leads were made from paste pressed into a mold, then placed into sawed grooves and enclosed with a strip of wood (clearly visible in the fourth pencil insert). Hence, it’s a round lead (with cementing material) in a square hole.
Some of the pencils have second insert, a soft chalky substance in a paper tube. I think this is probably gypsum. The patent talks about gypsum as an ingredient of the lead, where it forms a compound that prevents softening due to atmospheric moisture. Instructions on the label seem to describe the substance being rubbed on a dampened area of the cloth prior to writing. Maybe it is gypsum helping to stabilize the mark. —
A box with French labels, showing that Clark’s pencils were sold by A.W. Faber in Paris:
The sixth pencil in the first photo is one of the newer ones. The label suggests some new uses, including marking toothbrushes (no more disgusting mix-ups!) and umbrellas. It came with this price list:
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. —