Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Step Up? From the Moore Clip?

There's a common theme to the story of most writing instrument manufacturers in the United States:  most companies produced higher-quality products early on, which deteriorated over the years until the company either closed or was sold.   I attribute this trend to the advent of the ballpoint pen, which popularized the notion of the disposable writing instrument after World War II and made the production of quality writing instruments less and less profitable. 

Whatever the cause, it's depressing.

When it comes to Moore, the story is similar.  Moore's high water mark was in the early 1930s, and while the company continued to produce new and interesting pencils up until the company's doors shut in 1956, the quality of the products produced by the company in those later years just wasn't the same. 

Generally. 

Exhibit A for the case of product debasement at Moore was the company's abandonment of the distinctive looped "Moore Clip" sometime in the mid- to late 1930s, which was replaced with conventional "press clips" that were simply stapled into the barrel. 

But let's not be too fast in writing off the press clip Moores- there's some pretty nice ones out there!  A few examples are pictured on page 101 of The Catalogue:


On closer examination, these pencils, particularly the ones to the left in this picture, are every bit as good as what Moore had been producing before.  I recently found a green example to match the ones second and third from left in this picture:


The trim is handsomely plated, and the split center band is very nice.  But what appeals to me the most about these is the clip:


In my opinion, this is one of the prettiest clips put on any pencil!

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