Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A.T. Cross: Victorian magic pencils

Since I knew that the Cross section in The Catalogue was inadequate, I had already started looking for more examples of the brand before I encountered Jim Rouse.   When it came to Victorian "magic" pencils (the type that the tip extends from the front when the rear is pulled outward), I had managed to find two:


The larger of the two sports typical black enamel "racing stripes" frequently found on early Cross pencils.  The smaller example looks to be pristine, so I doubt it ever had stripes on it.  The only indication that these were made by Cross is a tiny maker's mark at the top:  "AXT," for A.T. Cross -- get it?


Proud as I am of these two finds, they pale in comparison next to the group Jim Rouse had on hand:


Sizewise, mine are comparable to the closed examples to the right in these picture.  Most of Jim's are simply enormous.  That ringtop bail located mid-barrel when the pencils are extended are a pretty unique feature.


Here's a closer shot of the smaller ones:


And every one of Jim's examples had an "AXT" mark similar to mine:

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