Thursday, June 14, 2012

More Clues

Yesterday, I was trying to pinpoint when the ball-clip Tri-points might have been made.  There was one more example of these in the bunch which answers these questions:
It has the same clip as yesterday's examples:
And at the top, it has the later style buttons and a curious hollow plastic piece.  There's a hole in the top of it, so I suspect it may have had a liquid-filled section at the top:


But the real secret is in these curious inlays on the side of the barrel, which look like something a six year old would proudly show his mother and say "look what I made!"


That's "EBN" for Edgar B. Nichols, by the way.  And these inlays are what tell us when this pencil was probably made.

Edgar Nichols didn't just invent pencils - he was also interested in perfecting manufacturing processes.  In 1937 or so, he started experimenting with inlaying techniques, and on May 1, 1937, he applied for a patent for an inlaying technique, which was granted on July 1, 1941:


But this was for a different kind of inlay, a rectangular runner in which you could put initials or other items (notice how he put "EBN" in figure 1?).   But look at Figure 9 - one of the alternate means of attaching his cartouche was with a waffle-pattern material that would be pressed into the plastic.  Looks like the material on today's pencil, doesn't it?

Nichols wasn't done.  On November 22, 1941, he applied for a second patent for an inlaying process, and the patent was granted on April 17, 1945 as number 2,374,034:

Here's Nichols patenting all different shapes of ornamental inlays, but these are metal inlays with colored enameled areas.

Today's pencil fits in between Nichols 1937 and 1941 patent applications, after he had perfected inlaying a rectangular cartouche and using materials that he had on hand from his 1937 invention.  But he hadn't figured out the enameling part yet. 

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