Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Couple of Couples

Over time, they say, married couples begin to look like each other, but these couples looked similar from the start.  They are both a set of lady and gentleman's pencils from Waterman, from the mid-1930s and early 1940s.

Above are pencils in the 1930s "Thorobred" line in green & bronze agate.  The gent's pencil has silver trim, while the lady's has gold.  The lady's pencil has a brown celluloid tip, while the gent's has a black one.  Both the pencils above are imprinted on the removable cap, which contains an eraser:  "Waterman's /Reg. US Pat. Off. /Made in U.S.A."  They use 1.1 mm lead and are characterized by a totally flat top.  They are 5 and 4 & 1/2 inches respectively.

Sad to say, the lady's pencil has lost its clip, which fitted into the top like the Lady Patricia's clip (shown top-most, above). The Lady Thorobred pencil has a narrower band than the Lady Patricia, and a stubbier tip, but longer point.

In the 1940s, Waterman's continued to cater for both men and women with their mid-range "Commando."  Here is a man's in black and a woman's in striated gold, both with gold-tone trim. While they look like repeaters, they are actually nose drive pencils, measuring 4 & 1/2 and 5 inches.

The clips fasten onto the flat tops, and have an aeronautical feel to the design. Only the clip carries the Waterman name.  Although it was available, Waterman's had not yet moved to the thinner 0.9 mm lead for these pencils.

Two Waterman couples, enough for a table of bridge.  Who's keeping score?  

Later, I was able to find this Thorobred lady's pencil with clip intact; here it is:

See my blog about Waterman's products during the second world war:  WWII and Waterman's

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Greenback Dollar

From the hard times of the early 1930s comes this Wahl Eversharp "Dollar" pencil, advertised as a "popular priced" writing instrument in a line which included mechanical pencils for as much as $5.63 in 1930, and as little as 60 cents.  The full-sized 5 & 1/2 inch "Dollar" pencil shown has a black tip, black removable top cap with eraser underneath, and gold-tone point, bands, and ball clip, while the body of the pencil is finely grained jade green "marble."

It is a middle-drive twist pencil with 1.1 mm lead.

The stock market crash of 1929 and the drought and dust-storms that plagued the mid-section of America made even a dollar too much--much too much!--to pay for a pencil.  

The farmers benefiting from Hoover's 1929 Farm Relief Bill probably used wooden pencils to record and add up their seed and feed bills--they cost a few pennies.

From the dust bowl came bankrupt farmers and businessmen, out-of-work farm laborers, and migrant farm workers, all seeking a living in greener pastures of plenty.  Among these was one man who chronicled the times with songs of the people, whose guitar was, famously, a machine that killed fascists.  He was to be a significant influence on American music.  For important documents he used a fountain pen.

I don't want your millions, mister.
I don't want your diamond ring.
All I want is the right to live, mister.
Give me back my job again.

Words by Woody Guthrie to the tune of "Greenback Dollar"

I don't want your greenback dollar,
I don't want your silver chain,
All I want is your love, darling,
Won't you take me back again?

Traditional lyrics