Friday, June 1, 2012

Parker Writefine: The Tipectomy Was Canceled

Since a couple of my Writefines are missing the top knurled section, I put "donor Writefine" on my short list of parts to hunt for in Chicago so I could do a "tipectomy" or two.

I was wandering around the room a bit on Sunday when I passed by a table on which the dealer had a quart bag full o' stuff.  "Ten bucks," he said.  I don't know whether he was that sick of looking at this stuff or whether he was returning a favor for a deal I'd given him earlier in the day, but it didn't matter to me:  I'm like a crack whore when someone dangles a dime bag in front of me like that.  I didn't even know what was inside the bag - I bought it. 

(Pause:  no, I don't do drugs and I never have.  That was an analogy.)

Of course, I'm not the only one at the show that's like that.  After I'd taken out of it all the things I wanted, I sold what was left of the bag - for ten bucks.  To another crack whore like me.

(Pause:  that's another analogy.  Don't take me so seriously!)

Anyway, one of the items that I found appeared to check "donor Writefine" off of my list:


There's the top half of a Writefine with a chunk missing, but an intact knurled section!

But when I got home and got to looking at it closer,  I saw that it wasn't damaged:


It's a demonstrator!  Turning the knurled section rotates the innards and moves that screw.  Since these are nose drive pencils, that got me to wondering what a rotating screw in the top half of the barrel might do:


It advances the eraser, just like turning the nose advances the lead!  The only other pencil I'm aware of that has an advancing eraser like this is one of Carl Harris' early designs for the metal Slencil, but I only know that from the patent drawings; I've never seen one in person.

So I now have to take back some of what I said about Parker copying the Sheaffer Fineline series.   Yes, they adopted a name awfully close to what Sheaffer was using, and yes, the basic design of the Writefine calls Sheaffer's pencils immediately to mind.  But this -- this is truly original!

P.S.:  the tipectomy has been canceled, and the search for a suitable donor continues.  And "lower half of a Writefine" has been added to my list.

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