Friday, February 24, 2012

No Really . . . "That Pencil"

Today's pencil du jour is as different as the path that brought it to my doorstep.  A few weeks ago, I was checking ebay when I noticed a listing that intrigued me (the item number was 130629325597, for those who want to pause here and check the listing).  The pictures clearly looked like they were of an Eversharp "Demonstrator" Pencil, with what is clearly a Wahl clip and the telltale football-shaped cutouts on the back side.  The description, however, said that the pencil was marked "That Pencil Patent Applied For."

The more I looked at this piece, the more excited I got.  Why would a Wahl-made Eversharp demonstrator be marked "That Pencil"?   I grew more excited as the auction neared its end, with little interest and no bids.  Towards the end of the auction, I threw in an outrageous bid -- not a snipe, but in the last couple hours -- and held my breath.  At auctions' close, I was the high bidder at only fifteen bucks.

As soon as the auction closed, I couldn't wait to figure out what it was that I had purchased.  I sent the seller a message and asked him to look more closely at the pencil to see if it was marked "Wahl," and the answer that came back was disappointing . . . he'd mixed up the pictures.  The pencil that was pictured was in fact a typical Wahl Eversharp Demonstrator he had sold weeks earlier.  The pencil I had won was a different one entirely.   

He asked what I wanted to do, and I asked him to send me pictures of the pencil I was actually bidding on.  The pictures he sent me weren't any clearer, but were intriguing enough that I said I'd go ahead and take that one.  When it arrived, on closer inspection I definitely think I got my fifteen bucks' worth:


I suppose I can forgive the ebay seller for confusing this with a Wahl Eversharp, since they are about the same size, both all-metal and the clip on this one is extremely similar to a Wahl clip:


The imprint says exactly what my ebay seller had indicated:


One thing that I noticed was that the hexagonal top was a very different color from the rest of the pencil, and I wondered whether it was a replacement cap taken from something else.  When I pulled it off to check, I discovered not only was it original, it led me to one of the weirdest mechanisms I've ever run across:


The two fixed rods fit into two tiny holes in the barrel, and when the top is rotated, these rods twist a screw mechanism located far down in the barrel.  I had a really difficult time getting the top back on, because the two rods have to line up with the little holes down inside the barrel.  But this pencil still works -- in fact, it works really well.

I haven't yet been able to track down either the tradename "Thatpencil" or the patent for this goofy design.  However, Daniel Kirchheimer led me to an advertisement in the April, 1921 issue of "The Meyer Druggist":

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. "That Pencil" reminds me of the vintage "The Pen" by Onoto. They would make a nice set, even if "That Pencil" isn't the one that goes with "The Pen".... ;-)

Excellent work. Thanks.

Steve L.