Sunday, July 1, 2012

I Can't Think of a Better Name

Every so often, Janet and I make the trip to Springfield to visit one particular antique mall -- the Heart of Ohio Antique Mall just off of 70 - it's a huge building with a green roof that says "Antiques" on it.  If you miss it from those directions . . . well, let's just say there are people that shouldn't leave their house without a GPS. 

Anyway, the reason we keep going back is that this mall is huge.  Its owners claim it's the biggest in Ohio, and if someone else claims to have a bigger one, I'm game to go have a look.  More often than not we don't get through the whole thing, and we always end up leaving with more than we ever expected to buy. 

Usually, though, I don't find much in the way of pencils.  Seems like most of the people there that have a few pens also have a 20-year old price guide, and they've factored in cost of living increases over the last 20 years. 

But this time, I did find something, though I'm still not quite sure what it is:


There were two of these, I haven't seen them before, so I bought both of them.  It's technically a "porte crayon," since the slider simply clamps the barrel down on the lead:


But on the barrel was a curious imprint:


"Graphite Pencil Co.  Journalistic No. 1345."    Now there's a company name that probably had every other pencil manufacturer smacking its forehead and wondering why they didn't think of that for a name!

So I googled "Graphite Pencil Co. Journalistic," and the first result is a google books reference to the May 8, 1890 edition of The American Stationer:



Wow!  There's my pencil, and I had no idea it was that old!  Since it's hard to make out all the text from a picture, here's the writeup:

"The "Journalistic" Pencil

Many people have experienced what an unpleasant task it is to sharpen a blue or red pencil, and there has been a demand for a simple but effective method whereby the lead can always be kept in working condition without the use of a knife. The Graphite Pencil Company, of New York and Chicago, has placed on the market a little contrivance which is known as the "Journalistic" pencil and which is illustrated in two forms on this page. It consists of a metal tube, split at one end and having a slide ring which when moved to the open end of the tube compresses it and grips the colored lead which is within. One form of the "Journalistic" is intended to hold one lead only, while the other is a "double ender," holding a lead at each end. When in service the lead is always sharpened, and as much of it can be exposed as is desirable, while when it is put in the pocket the lead can be dropped back within the tube out of sight and harm. This pencils will be found very desirable and convenient by journalists or others who have cause to use a colored lead frequently, and wherever it has been shown it has met with an instant response. It is for sale by all jobbers. Leads for it are packed three in a box."

Thanks to Google Books.  Again. 

So.  Anyone have a "double ender" No. 1540?



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I used to pillage that mall (and the one down the road from it) on a regular basis. I rarely found worthy things and, yes, the items that were there, were there for many years. :) But....you never know. Cool find. ;)