Friday, May 10, 2019

Jade Green

Do you like a hefty green marble pencil?  If so, you'll like this Eclipse bell top from about 1923.


You can see at once why this marble is called "jade."  The jade bell top is 5 inches, with gold metal fittings.  It has the script writing on the clip, along with the 1923 patent date (9/18/23) in teeny numerals, as well as Eclipse in an oval, inside a circle--also teeny--at the top of the clip. 



It's a cream and green marble, with darker and lighter greens.  I wonder if Irish Republicans living in New York in 1923, one year after Irish independence, bought this pencil for themselves or their families at home in Erin, the Emerald Isle.  If so, most appropriate!


A couple of years later, Sheaffer introduced their "Titan" bell top with a similar marble.  The Titan was another 1/4 inch longer, but the jade was a bit paler colored, and more of a yellow-green.  Here they are together.



In 1923, there was also this new perfume:

Très à la mode.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Last Watermans of the English-Speaking World

The American Waterman company ended production in the late 1950s.  More than 20 years later it was revived, but in France, where the company still makes writing instruments.  In England, the company may have continued until the French-based Waterman's took over.  These three examples are the end of the story for both locations.


The green striated marble with gold trim is an English-made middle twist pencil with "military" clip and a simple "Made In England" impressed mark;  it lacks the Waterman name on the marble.



At almost 5 inches, it is larger than the earlier British-made Waterman of  4.25 inches.  Possibly these were meant to be a man's and a lady's pencil.  The more decorative band on the smaller pencil could support that idea, too.  They are the "Commando" model.


On the other side of the pond, the Taperite model pen and pencil were second-to-last of the American-made products for Waterman's.  This black plastic, gold cap and tip, 5 inch Taperite pencil is slim and uses the 0.9 mm "thin" lead.  It has a lightweight, even flimsy feel, and is a nose-drive mechanism with a line of grip on the tip.  An eraser is under the cap.  There is no other marking than the name on the clip.





The last Waterman is this pencil made to accompany the "Cartridge Fill" pen of the late 1950s, another ho-hum model name.  You have to wonder if a more exciting name might not have helped the company survive a few more years in the US.  Sheaffer went on longer with their "Skripsert" cartridge-filled pen and matching pencil, but who knows?


At least this one feels more substantial than the Taperite.  It is 5.25 inches and uses 0.9 lead. The eraser is under the cap.  The modern-looking clip is gold-trimmed while the cap is silver, over a black plastic barrel.  Waterman's and Made in USA is inscribed on the base of the cap.


Au revoir!

Friday, March 29, 2019

An Early DeWitt-La France Superite


Fond as I am of small ringtop pencils, this one is even more pleasing to me due to the early mark of an interesting partnership.


It is a sterling silver-plated 4 inch rear-drive pencil with curlicue decoration on the cap, which pulls straight off for an eraser enclosure.  It can be dated to 1919-1922 from the "STERLING PATENT PENDING" inscription.  It is also marked "Superite, MAKERS DeWitt-LaFrance Co.,CAMBRIDGE, MASS."  One hundred years later, it still works well.



I like to think of these two entrepreneurs working in Cambridge, a place I know and appreciate. It is the quintessential university/college town, with outlets for all the intellectual and cultural pursuits one could wish for, as well as much more.  There is literally ivy on the ivy league university buildings.


Harvard is there, as well as Radcliffe--history oozes from every paving stone.  Daily walking over those stones by the old cemetery, an earlier idea of mortality is thrust upon you.  Memento mori!


Perhaps one of the Radcliffe students purchased and used this pencil in Cambridge, wearing it on a ribbon to class.

Radcliffe class of 1923

For my earlier blog on the DeWitt-La France Company, use this link: