Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lighter Pencil Week Part 2: The Penciliter (first generation)

It seems a little ironic that Ronson, after first introducing the streamlined Lite-O-Rite, would take what appeared to be a giant step backwards with the gawky Penciliter, introduced around 1934.

If you are familiar with the Ronson Penciliter, you are probably thinking to yourself, "Gawky?  What's he talking about?  The only thing more streamlined than a Penciliter is maybe a Skyline pen." 

Ah, you are thinking of the second generation of Penciliters.  The first generation was definitely not as graceful as anything that came either before it or after it:


To my knowledge, there are two variations on these: those with the marbled green and brown lower section, and those with a plain black section.  Here's the top in more detail:


Notice the same clip as what's found on the Lite-O-Rite, but this one is simply marked, "Ronson."  As with other Ronson products, the imprint is more than a mouthful:


These were produced for the U.S., Canadian and British markets, so there are quite a few numbers to sort through.  U.S. design patent number 92,996, issued to Louis Aronson on August 14, 1934, covers the distinctive look of these awkward birds:

The only technical U.S. patents issued is RE (Reissued) 19,023, which pertains only to the lighter assembly and not to its incorporation into a mechanical pencil:

Given the 1934 design patent date and the amount of metal that went into these first Ronson Penciliters, it's a safe bet that these were only produced for a few years, from 1934 until the War Production Board imposed strict limitations on materials in 1942.  But after the War ended, Ronson would be back and back with a vengeance . . .

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