Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Big Bumblebees

A few weeks ago, when Joe Nemecek was weighing in on wafers (March 4), he had sent me this picture, throwing in to the shot the two bumblebee pattern dollar pencils at the top of the picture:


At the Baltimore show, Joe asked me at one point why I'd turned down that red bumblebee dollar pencil like the one he had.  The answer was simple:  I missed it.  Thanks to Joe, I swung back around and picked it up.  While it was a little rough when I bought it, after a little love and attention it's looking pretty good now:


There's only one problem -- it's not like the one Joe has.  Take a closer look at the top:


Note that Joe's has that extra metal section under the bell.  I've got one like that, but mine's jade.  Here's a shot of the two, plus my yellow bumblebee dollar pencil:


My yellow and red ones are along the same lines, with the only difference between them being the cap.  I hate to use the word "correct," since they are interchangeable, although I'm wondering if the cap on the yellow one, which matches the cap on Joe's, isn't . . . more right.  The cap on my red one matches some earlier dollar pencils and may have been a replacement.

(But we are certain that the clip on Joe's yellow one is a replacement, transplanted from an Autopoint!  Sorry, Joe, had to rib you a bit on that one.)

The internal workings of the jade one are different from my bumblebees.  The bumblebees share the same Keeran mechanism used since the earliest Eversharp metal pencils were made in 1913, while the jade one uses something else:


Yeah, that eraser retainer on the jade one says "Eraser No. 7."  I've not seen those, but they had to be the biggest the company made!  Since the retainer is a close match for the retainers on the later Equipoised and Doric lines, I believe my jade example is a little later than my bumblebees.

Joe and I have different collecting styles.  To him, he's got a red bumblebee and I've got a slightly different one, but it's still a red bumblebee.  His yellow one has a matching yellow cone, while mine have black cones with yellow trim rings, but that's ok. 

But as for me, it's driving me freakin' nuts!

1 comment:

Joe said...

Au contraire, good buddy! My favorite pencil, as you know, is the 1920's Parker flattop. Many years ago I discovered a slightly smaller version of the Parker flattop Junior. The only difference was the length of the gold crown. I collected two more over the years - searching for knowledge as to the 'why' of this pencil. I thought that I had exhausted all my answer resources. I happened to ask Dan Zazove one day. He had the answer. The pencil was the match for the first year Parker streamline fountain pen. Obsessing over! But, in general, you're right! -smile-