Friday, May 10, 2019

Jade Green

Do you like a hefty green marble pencil?  If so, you'll like this Eclipse bell top from about 1923.


You can see at once why this marble is called "jade."  The jade bell top is 5 inches, with gold metal fittings.  It has the script writing on the clip, along with the 1923 patent date (9/18/23) in teeny numerals, as well as Eclipse in an oval, inside a circle--also teeny--at the top of the clip. 



It's a cream and green marble, with darker and lighter greens.  I wonder if Irish Republicans living in New York in 1923, one year after Irish independence, bought this pencil for themselves or their families at home in Erin, the Emerald Isle.  If so, most appropriate!


A couple of years later, Sheaffer introduced their "Titan" bell top with a similar marble.  The Titan was another 1/4 inch longer, but the jade was a bit paler colored, and more of a yellow-green.  Here they are together.



In 1923, there was also this new perfume:

Très à la mode.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Last Watermans of the English-Speaking World

The American Waterman company ended production in the late 1950s.  More than 20 years later it was revived, but in France, where the company still makes writing instruments.  In England, the company may have continued until the French-based Waterman's took over.  These three examples are the end of the story for both locations.


The green striated marble with gold trim is an English-made middle twist pencil with "military" clip and a simple "Made In England" impressed mark;  it lacks the Waterman name on the marble.



At almost 5 inches, it is larger than the earlier British-made Waterman of  4.25 inches.  Possibly these were meant to be a man's and a lady's pencil.  The more decorative band on the smaller pencil could support that idea, too.  They are the "Commando" model.


On the other side of the pond, the Taperite model pen and pencil were second-to-last of the American-made products for Waterman's.  This black plastic, gold cap and tip, 5 inch Taperite pencil is slim and uses the 0.9 mm "thin" lead.  It has a lightweight, even flimsy feel, and is a nose-drive mechanism with a line of grip on the tip.  An eraser is under the cap.  There is no other marking than the name on the clip.





The last Waterman is this pencil made to accompany the "Cartridge Fill" pen of the late 1950s, another ho-hum model name.  You have to wonder if a more exciting name might not have helped the company survive a few more years in the US.  Sheaffer went on longer with their "Skripsert" cartridge-filled pen and matching pencil, but who knows?


At least this one feels more substantial than the Taperite.  It is 5.25 inches and uses 0.9 lead. The eraser is under the cap.  The modern-looking clip is gold-trimmed while the cap is silver, over a black plastic barrel.  Waterman's and Made in USA is inscribed on the base of the cap.


Au revoir!

Friday, March 29, 2019

An Early DeWitt-La France Superite


Fond as I am of small ringtop pencils, this one is even more pleasing to me due to the early mark of an interesting partnership.


It is a sterling silver-plated 4 inch rear-drive pencil with curlicue decoration on the cap, which pulls straight off for an eraser enclosure.  It can be dated to 1919-1922 from the "STERLING PATENT PENDING" inscription.  It is also marked "Superite, MAKERS DeWitt-LaFrance Co.,CAMBRIDGE, MASS."  One hundred years later, it still works well.



I like to think of these two entrepreneurs working in Cambridge, a place I know and appreciate. It is the quintessential university/college town, with outlets for all the intellectual and cultural pursuits one could wish for, as well as much more.  There is literally ivy on the ivy league university buildings.


Harvard is there, as well as Radcliffe--history oozes from every paving stone.  Daily walking over those stones by the old cemetery, an earlier idea of mortality is thrust upon you.  Memento mori!


Perhaps one of the Radcliffe students purchased and used this pencil in Cambridge, wearing it on a ribbon to class.

Radcliffe class of 1923

For my earlier blog on the DeWitt-La France Company, use this link:

Thursday, December 13, 2018

More Moore Marble

This bold celluloid black and yellow marble and gold-filled Moore came my way recently. It measures 4.25 inches and represents the 1925 patent filed by early designer, John G. Liddell, for Morris W. Moore's company, and granted on October 13, 1925.


This ringtop has a rear-drive mechanism.  To advance the 1.1 mm lead, you turn the bell top, which has thoughtfully been provided with a nice incised rim to turn it more easily.


The mark reads MOORE (with the joined Os) and under that "GOLD FILLED PAT. OCT.13 25."
The same size pencil was made with a simple clip attached to the cap, and a larger 1925 patent pencil was produced which had a clip embedded in the marble.


It's a smooth, substantial-feeling pencil.  It was made from 1925 until about 1930.


Below, another of the 1925 patent pencils (black and bronze) along with a later green marble Moore.

Friday, November 30, 2018

A Mate for Lady Patricia

It's lovely when the stars align.  Jet Lady Patricia has found her counterpart at last.



The Waterman Patrician was introduced in time for Christmas of 1929, and was sold as a man's pencil (matching the man's Patrician fountain pen, naturally) at the cost of $5.  Turquoise, Emerald, Nacre and Jet were the colors offered.  As you can see, Jet pencils have silver (chromium) trim.


The Patrician pencil is 5 & 1/2 inches, with a longer than usual cap hiding an eraser. Instead of the flat polished disk Lady Patricia has on top, the Patrician has a 4-stepped bullseye.


The nose-drive mechanism is operated by a twist of the tip, feeding out the 1.1 mm lead.  In the Jet color, the tip is also Jet; marble Patricians have color-coordinated top and tip sections.


Have a happy honeymoon, you two!












Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Early Patented-Clip Eclipse Flat-Top

This black and gold "marble" Eclipse doesn't fit the mold--it is a tapered flat-top shape but with the earlier, script-marked, patented 2-piece clip.  It was the design of Marx Finstone, the founder of the Eclipse Fountain Pen and Pencil Company.




 It is a 5 inch celluloid pencil with a nose-drive mechanism, using 1.1 mm lead.  The cap pulls off--there might have been an eraser inside at one time.  There is room for extra lead.  It is a little bit thick at 3/8 inch in diameter.  It has a single gold band above the clip.  My other flat-top model has two bands, a contrasting cap, and capital-letter marking on the clip.  (See it here:  Pleased To Meet You.)



Just when you think a celluloid marble design (like this one, for example) is too over-the-top, you discover that black and gold marble really does occur in nature.  How striking!


And so my love affair with Eclipse continues.







Saturday, September 1, 2018

Never Dull--A Small Eclipse Ringtop

Marx Finstone's Eclipse Fountain Pen and Pencil Company was in its teen-age years when this 4" ringtop was made in about 1920.  The inscription says, "ECLIPSE, NEVER DULL, 14K GOLD FILLED."  It's now known that the "Never Dull" Eclipse pencils were made by the Rex company of Rhode Island.  You can read about it in Jon Veeley's blog about these early Eclipse pencils.  The Rex Manufacturing Company of Providence, who held an assortment of mechanical pencil patents in the early 1920s, was the starting point for a surprising number of pencil brands.


The ringtop uses 1.1 mm lead and uses a rear drive mechanism that is still operating perfectly after nearly 100 years.  The checkerboard pattern is one of several used for Eclipse's Never Dull metal pencils. 


Would that we could all boast of being "never dull" for a century!