My Collection – Photos and Commentary

Mechanical Pencils

Eagle Automatic

These are some very old Eagle mechanical pencils (or leadholders):

Eagle Automatic Mechanical Pencils

Eagle Automatic Copying

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:

Eagle Automatic 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?

Perpetual Calendar

I am interested in mechanical pencils that are built to perform different functions.  For example, here are some “perpetual calendar” mechanical pencils:

The idea is that by rotating the month part relative to the week part, you can line up the days of the week that correspond to the numerical dates for whatever month it is.  Once set, you have a whole little calendar right there, on your favorite writing instrument!  Never mind that the month always has 31 days, and you can’t make notes or even mark the date on the calendar, and it is messed up if the parts happen to shift.

The bottom pencil is made in Japan.  It is also a “drop pencil,” since depressing the top button allows the writing point to drop out of the body.  These instructions came with it:

Another interesting calendar pencil is shown in this post.

O Pencil Tree!

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree…

Click for larger image

The ornaments are vintage mini mechanical pencils, about 2 inches long on average.  Most of them are “golf pencils” that could be used for marking golf scores, and many have little tassels attached.

Happy Holidays, and may the New Year bring you many more of whatever you collect!

Catching Some Z’s

I did a massive sorting of my collection earlier this year.  The thought came to me, “I’ve got a zillion pencils here.  Let’s see how many I can pick out that start with the letter Z.”

Here are the wooden brand-name pencils:

There’s also a Zulu in an earlier post.  The swirly one says Zippy Special.  There really ought to be a Zebra — I imagine such a pencil could be really cool-looking, with black and white stripes.  I know, the Zimmermannsstift (carpenter’s pencil in German) is a bit of a stretch.

Stretching further, I found these advertising pencils:

And finally, a mechanical pencil.  There is only one, but it is the Z-est of all!


Products Inside Mechanicals

Good-quality mechanical pencils with product advertising on them used to be given out by salesmen.  But some of these advertising pencils went further, containing visible samples of actual products inside them!  There were different pencil styles as well as a surprising variety of products —

By observing these items, I learned what sorghum, soy, and chick mash look like.  I can also now recognize Mineral Jig Concentrate if I ever come across it,  although I have no idea what it is.

I had more samples of liquid products, but many of them leaked out or turned to sludge.

Red | Blue: Mechanicals and Pens

Continuing with the red/blue theme, here are appropriate mechanical pencils and ballpoint pens.  I am showing them here but reserving the Red|Blue Collection page for wood pencils.

 Starting with the fourth pencil down, the brands are Wearever (x3), Onward, Scripto, and Empire.


Eagle Simplex

Eagle Pencil Company produced a wide variety of writing instruments.  One was an interesting mechanical pencil named Simplex.  It was cheap and came in several styles.

The Simplex has a patented, simple mechanism –

As the metal cylinder is screwed along the outside of the wooden body, a rod pushes the lead forward.

But there is also an older type of Simplex pencil that is completely different –

The lead is exposed by tearing off pieces of material around it.  This is similar to Blaisdell’s paper pencils, which were patented a year earlier (1895).

Black | Red

While red/blue combination pencils are well-known, there are also pencils that have both black (graphite) and red leads.  Here are a couple of old American ones, with a box:

The box describes what the pencils are for:  Red lead for checking and special notations, black for shorthand and writing. 

This type of pencil is more popular in Japan, judging from the many varieties –

I show both front and back because a common feature of Japanese pencils is that they have important information on opposite sides.

Note that all of these two-way pencils have black on the left and red on the right.  But the one shown on the Shorthandy box is reversed! 

Black/red combo mechanical pencils also exist –

The Autopoint at top is a famous example.