Monday, February 23, 2015

The Ideal Waterman for the Lodge Brothers

This green marble Waterman pencil with gold-tone trim is a nose drive model from the 1930s.  The 4 & 3/4 inch pencil has 1.1 mm lead size, and a washer style ball clip with the Ideal logo on the clip as well as the Waterman name.  On the cap is imprinted "Waterman's" and "United States of America," and under the cap is an eraser.  

The model of this pencil is unknown, but it is linked by its logo to that Waterman stock in trade, the Ideal fountain pen.  From 1884, when the first Waterman pen was produced, for the next fifty years, the Ideal fountain pen grew the Waterman company into a large and well-known commercial venture with offices in New York, Boston, and Chicago, and outlets in San Francisco, London, Montreal, and Paris.  Below is the Waterman building in mid-Manhattan, Numbers 173-177 Broadway, New York.

In the 1920s the Waterman company began making pens with emblems on the caps for organizations and fraternities such as the Rotary, the Odd Fellows, the Knights of Columbus, and all branches of the Free Masons including the Blue Lodge, the Scottish Rite, the Knights Templar, and the Mystic Shrine, now known popularly as the Shriners.  They also made imprints with lodge names and numbers for individual lodges:  the green marble pencil is one of these.

This is the imprint of the Free and Accepted Masons' lodge called the Solon Lodge, Number 771.  It was a Manhattan lodge of mostly German-American Masons with names like Meisner and Zobel dating back to the 19th century.  The lodge belonged to the greater German Masonic Temple Association, and is documented in "A Standard History of Freemasonry in the State of New York." Sadly, the lodge's identity was lost when it merged with Brooklyn's Lessing Lodge # 608 in 1978, and again with the German Union Lodge #54 in 1981.  But their pencil outlasted them into the 21st century.  After all, it is a Waterman!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tucked Away from '42 to '54

I have noticed with wry interest that things from about 1945 to 1965, or in that style, are now called "mid-century," a look that has come into vogue with those born in the '80s and '90s.  They are making it their own, making it fresh --- it's clever and bright.  Check out this blog site for "mid-century" renovators, for example:  There's a discussion of how to make a doorbell from a rotary dial phone, where to get "atomic" shower knobs, and other useful stuff.

As a mid-century person, I have a little bit of nostalgia for the period, so I have been drawn to mid-century pencils like the Sheaffer lady's pencil called the "Tuckaway."  Even the term is right out of the era--remember the Hide-A-Bed and percolator?  Or how about this very dubious building material, "Fibrolite?"

Recently I added a third Tuckaway to my other two, and it is the earliest yet, the clip-less model with the wide center band, circa 1942.  It has the shape of the Sheaffer Balance, but in a diminutive size (4") and with a cute little snub nose.  Tuckaways use the newer .09 mm lead, sometimes called thin lead.  They are middle-twist operated.

All the Tuckaways I have picked up are personalized with the name of the owner, leading one to suspect that this was either something women really liked, or that it was offered free with the purchase of the pencil--maybe both!

When Sheaffer added a clip to the Tuckaway, it also was diminutive and snub-nosed.  

The grey striated ones are made of celluloid, while the burgundy is made of the new post-war plastic.  It has Sheaffer's "lifetime warranty" white dot.

They all have handy grip for your fingers, but the later plastic pencil (bottom) had a new smaller point.   With its two-tone trim, it was the "Sentinel" model, while the striped version with the narrow band is the "Lady."  There is also a "Triumph Crest" model with a gold cap.  I'll be keeping my eye open for one.  Maybe look for a mid-century desk doo-dad, too!