Friday, November 24, 2017

Middle-to-Late Thirties & Forties Watermans

No self-respecting advertising firm would agree to a product name like the 92 pen and 91 pencil!  *Yawn* Yet that's what Waterman's called them.  The riveted ball clip is key to identifying these mid-to-late 1930s marble pencils.  They are nose-drive operated, using 1.1mm lead, 5 inches long, and have an eraser inside, plus room for extra leads.

The mark reads:  Waterman's, Reg US Pat Off, Made in USA

They have a simple band, no grip on the nose, and jewel-less flat tops. Here is a 91 with the 92 pen.

With thanks to Peyton Street Pens for this image.

About this time, before WWII broke out, Waterman's began making pens in England, taking over the Falcon Pen Works in Neasden, in NW London.  There they made the Pittman Shorthand Pen and a pen called "Unique."  In 1946, after the war, Waterman's moved to Finsbury Park, North London (yes, the same place a deranged van driver ran headlong into pedestrians in June, 2017).  There, as Waterman Pen Company, Ltd., they made virtually the same products the company was making in the USA, like the Commando.

Here is a green striated Commando from across the pond.

It has a lovely decorated band, and a bit different clip.  The clip is attached in a totally different way, with a little cut-out for the edge of the clip to rest in, and a taller washer.  It is a nose-drive pencil using 1.1mm lead. At 4.25 inches, it is smaller than my gold striated lady's Commando by 1/4 inch.

American Commandos with their British cousin.

It has an eraser inside, arranged in the same way as the Waterman 91 pencil.

The imprint says "Waterman's, Made in England."  The small A s are in italics, like this Waterman's ad, which was printed in London in 1949.  It does include the word pencils, I noticed.

Thanks to Anonymous for this image.

The matching pen was the Waterman W5 made in England. It is said that the English Waterman's continued to make pens into the 1970s.  But couldn't they have named them a little more creatively?
W5 sounds like a postal code.  Right up there with 92/91!  Tut, tut.

Friday, November 17, 2017

More Sheaffers in the Waterman Family Desk

Eventually sons and daughters have the bittersweet, seemingly never-ending task of clearing out their parents' home of posessions those good folks will never need again, for one reason or another.  It's nothing you really want to do, but someone has to do it!

In the family desk, in one of my dad's innumerable pencil cases, I was pleased to find two Sheaffer Pearlies from dad's college job with Anderson Erikson Dairy in Des Moines.  A little Christmas gift from the company, maybe?  Unlike all the other family Pearlies, these have the "Fineline" inscription on the clip.

Compared to Dad's College Pearlie, the AE advertising pencils have less grip at the bottom.  Dad's college pencil also has the duel-layer tip, said (in Sheaffer ads) to prevent lead breakage, and also found on the Sheaffer Triumph "Crest" with the gold-filled cap. 

There was also a black Pearlie with the duel-layer tip.

Here are their three tips:

That's quite a few Pearlies, with several clip, tip, and grip configurations.

One other Sheaffer I found was Dad's fountain pen I remembered from my childhood.  It turned out to be a Snorkel "Admiral."  It has a lovely 14 k nib. Still working, too.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

This Pencil Holds a Thrill. . .

Sheaffer's 1925 ad for their large flat-top pencil enthused:  "This pencil holds a thrill for those who love fine things."  True today, too.  The Sheaffer "Titan" pencil was introduced in 1925.  The jade green colored marble was introduced the year before, along with Jet black, and the Sheaffer desk set. This was the year Sheaffer switched from hard rubber to Du Pont "Radite." 

About this same time, the designers also introduced the connected R and S at the end of the name,
below the apostrophe.  The black and pearl marble coloring must have followed very shortly on the heels of the jade green color.  Sheaffer "lifetime" flat-top pens were also very handsome.  At this time, Sheaffer did not make matching pen and pencil sets, but similar colors were available.  The white dot, indicating the lifetime guarantee, was set into the top of the pen cap.

Titan pencils are 5 & 1/4 inches with a rear-drive mechanism, 1.1 mm lead, and ball-end clip.  They have gold-filled trim.  On the top, the mark (in all caps) reads:  Sheaffer's, Lifetime, Gold Filled, Pat- Pat Pending.

They continued to be made until the "Balance" design came along in 1929.  Above, you can see the two slightly different clips.  The jade pencil is the earlier.

The jade pencil 's clip has slightly different lettering, and the cap is a fraction shorter than the black and pearl pencil's cap.  To this longer cap, they added the words "Made in the USA."

Titans were six formidable Greek gods, most likely the namesakes of this pencil, but it is also the name of Jupiter's largest moon, the one that looks to be made of marble.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

NOT a Ketchem & McDougall

So many pin-on fobs were made by Ketcham & McDougall of East Orange, New Jersey, that I was surprised to find this one marked "The Beckhard Line, FLIP, 200 Fifth Ave, New York, 10."

Unlike the K & McD fobs, it has a double-pronged pin with a simpler hinge.

Like many Ketchem & McDougall products, a simple, unmarked nose-drive pencil is attached to the chain.  This green marble one has a ring top similar to the Carter "Pearltex" pencils, with a small band of black between the marble and the gold-tone top with ring.

The top of the pencil screws off so an eraser can be enclosed inside, with room for extra leads, too.  All the nose-drive mechanism is contained in the lower half.

The Beckhard Line was a shop dealing in stationary goods, for which they were the distributor rather than the manufacturer.  Some of their goods were imported from Germany, Czechoslovakia, and other places.  All their items appear to have been desk and letter related such as these letter boxes, pencil cup, and whimsical ceramic sponge holders used to moisten stamps or envelope flaps.

200 Fifth Avenue in New York's Flatiron District was the home of the International Toy Center, which had begun as a toy market when the first World War made the importation of toys from Germany impossible.  The clock outside is a landmark from an earlier era.

The postal code "10" dates this fob to after 1943, when the US Postal Service began the 2-digit code.  The pencil seems older, as it has the 1.1 mm lead from before 1938, but the supplier of this pencil in the WWII era may have been using up old stock.  Celluloid was not easy to obtain during the war.  Or this was a pencil already owned by the person who purchased the fob.  It measures 4 inches.

It's nice to know another maker of pin-on fobs.  I flipped over this one, did you?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Diamond Point's Graceful Decline

This post-Depression pencil, from the Diamond Point Pen Company, New York City, is an example from a company in decline, yet still producing something usable and reasonably attractive. Before the Great Depression, Diamond Point's nose-drive pencils were well-built and colorful, and they also made attractive middle-twist-operated pencils in nice materials.  This particular pencil is still of reasonable quality, enough so that L. Norris Post had it personalized with his signature incised on the barrel.  It is a warm, tobacco-colored marble with gold trim and a black bullseye jewel on top.  The band has two black stripes and two rows of engraved dots.  It has typical nose-drive grip on the tip of the pencil.  The mechanism is still working well.

The clip has a vertical "DIAMOND" inscription and also "PATD" inscribed along the top arch of the clip, in tiny letters.  It seems more of a deco-style clip, than a WWII style.

The top screws off to provide access to an eraser.  This is an unusual feature for a nosedrive pencil. Spare leads could be stored in the barrel.  This one still had two leads, 0.9 mm, dating the lead size to after 1938.

This is the first Diamond Point I have come across.  All-told, I could have done worse;  for a nose-drive pencil, it's several notches above average.  L. Norris, wherever you are, I'll be happy to use your Diamond Point.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mastercraft During the War

The Moore Mastercraft pencil came along in 1938, just a year before the start of WWII.  It was known for its pretty, striated celluloid and what you might call "patterned marble" in colors you wouldn't be embarrassed to use at your office or jobsite.  They had nice bands and clips.  Some had two kinds of celluloid with two bands.  This is my lady's size Mastercraft.

I wrote about it here:  Moore Mastercraft

During the war in the early and mid-1940s, the Mastercraft pencil was still being produced.  Its celluloid was still very nice, with marble, patterned marble, solid colors, and the striated pattern. However, the bands and clips were simpler and more inclined to show wear, and the rivet holding the clip was smooth rather than tooled.  Here is a war-time Mastercraft.

As before, the clip's "Moore" with interlocking Os is the only marking. The standard size was like this one, 4 & 7/8 inches, with 0.9 mm lead, and middle twist mechanism.  The decoration on the clip is a precursor to the next Moore design, the Fingertip.