Saturday, October 29, 2016

Artpoint for Art's Sake

I am so grateful to Jon Veeley for his pencil and patent expertise, and for showing pencil aficianados interesting pencils and the history behind them, as in this 5-part series about the "Artpoint" line from the short-lived Dollarpoint company:  Artpoint 5-Part Series   Scroll to the bottom, for the start of the series, on "The Leadhead's Pencil Blog."

To see these is to love them, surely.  For their own sake, as pencil art.  So naturally I was delighted to be able to acquire one of my own recently, this gold-fill over nickel example:

Design of the 1920s, when these pencils were made, was a beautiful mixture of classical and Art Nouveau styling, like this interior:

What a time to be alive, the jazz age, the age of women's sufferage, gas cookstoves, the birth of auto-travel, and other wonderful innovations, even the bread slicer machine!  How often my grandmother or great aunt said something was "the best thing since sliced bread!" They would know, because bread in their youth was unsliced.  Before this, all bread was what the grocery store is now pleased to call "artisan bread."  Here is the inventor, Otto Rohwedder, of Davenport, Iowa, with the first machine, and its operator, busily slicing bread.

Thank goodness Victorian times were past.  Fashion for women had undergone a massive and permanent renovation, from long, heavy, inconvenient skirts to light knee-length styles, from corseted wasp-waists to drop-waist dresses with, really, no waist at all.  What a relief!

To me, the Artpoint looks drop-waisted, too, with its small flat-top cap, decorative band and then the long, ribbed barrel ending in decorative bands and smooth point.  This one is 5 & 3/8 inches, with 1.1 mm lead, and a small, sturdy clip.  Ring-tops were also available.  See a ring-top here: Dollarpoint's Little Lady  Around the final band before the point is imprinted  ARTPOINT.

Inside the screw-off cap, the imprint reads, "Dollarpoint Pencil Corp., Los Angeles--U.S.A."

Clearly, it was a product of its time.  Now all that remains is for me to whittle away the 1 & 1/2 inch lead jam that is preventing this beauty from writing again.  I'll do it, for art's sake.