Monday, December 30, 2013

Pencil Sketch--Madonna & Child

Illustrated manuscript
Madonna & Child

Transparent Square 4

To close out the year, at the last minute, comes a pencil unlike any other featured here:  the Eversharp Square 4.  Its 1.1 mm lead was both square-shaped and 4 inches long, giving the pencil its name.  Although utilitarian, it has style and a bit of quality, too.  It is 6 & 1/2 inches long, big and bold.

The case of this pencil is transparent green celluloid, with a brick-work design in black strokes superimposed over the surface.  The case tapers to a metal tip, or nose, and for once, has enough grip on the nose to be really easy to turn.  Because the case is square, as well as the lead, it does not roll off your desk.

The large eraser is held by a top made of what looks to be black Bakelite and aluminium.  It unscrews to reveal the spare leads, held in four compartments on each corner of the square case.  My example contained four leads which only needed to have the white-ish bloom wiped off them to be perfect and functional.  The press clip is lower on the case, since the pencil is so long.  It says "Eversharp" in the typical italicized capital letters.  At the top of the clip is "Made in USA."

I hope you can see the spiral screw in the photo above, through the transparent case, ending in a ribbed cap, part of the nose-drive mechanism. Fortunately, it is working perfectly.  Below is the the lead package for this pencil.

With lead this long, you could write, draw, or doodle until the next new year comes along.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Balance in Transition II

As previously discussed, a marble Sheaffer Balance with a rigid radius clip was a pencil in transition.  (See my blog, Balance In Transition ) Further light has been shed on the idea by an ad for Sheaffer pens, below, from May 1937 in which we see a rigid radius clip pen made of "ebonized pearl" celluloid next to one with striated celluloid.  Clearly from 1936 through 1937, the two celluloid patterns ran together for the Sheaffer Balance pens and presumably for the matching pencils.

I happily came upon another example of the ebonized pearl Balance pencil with the longer rigid radius clip, this time in a monochromatic color scheme of black and grey pearl, with silver trim.  The black and grey ebonized pearl does not have the plain black top and tip.  This is the largest size Balance pencil measuring 5 & 5/8 inches, and, like the smaller transitional black and blue ebonized pearl Balance, has the imprint with the patent number and uses 1.1 mm lead.  This is also a lifetime warranty pen's companion.

Below you can see a large striated rigid radius pencil alongside this pearl pencil.

And here is a better view of the clips and center bands.

They balance each other nicely.

Monday, December 2, 2013

New to Me

It was exciting to discover a new brand of pencil this week, one that seems promising to a new collector.  It is Esterbrook, of Camden and later Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  My find is this Esterbrook repeater.

I am reliably informed that this 5" striated celluloid repeater pencil with 1.1 mm lead is related to the J-Series pens made by Esterbrook.  It falls within the "transitional" period of 1944-1947, and probably toward the end of that time.  The color is called "copper," and is nicer in person, a lot like figured cherry or maplewood. 

The imprint is the only clue to its origin, so here is it is highlighted to be more visible.

The clips of some Esterbrooks have the name on them, but not this one.  Here is a look at the washer clip and the black "jewel" end, which, interestingly enough, screws off.  The cap removes to reveal an eraser.

Here's a better view of the imprint, which says Esterbrook, Made in U.S.A., and the center band.

The tip shows some ribbing for grip, and you can see the lead gripping mechanism, too.

Now that I have been introduced, I hope I can meet more of the family.

Since then, my wish came true with this find, a slightly later Esterbrook J series double jewel pencil, whose only difference is the addition of the name in caps on the clip.