Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Man Scorned

A few weeks ago, I was discussing the "Real Housewives of Minneapolis," and the determination with which Frank J. Vierling patented improvements to his wife Mary’s pencil design, the Dow. The last one of his patents along these lines, which he applied for on August 6, 1927, was the only one that identified an assignee: "Snap Point Pencil, Inc."

The existence of an assignee suggested that the pencil went into production at some point, although I’d never seen one. That changed in DC:


This was another in the little pile of pencils I pulled from Frank Hoban’s box-o-delights and persuaded Michael Little to part with. Mike looked at me like I had two heads when I got excited about it, because at first glance, it looks like any other 1920s or so advertising pencil:


The Federal Bond and Mortgage Company was a prominent financial institution in Detroit in the 1920s; the earliest reference I could find to the company was in 1917. If true, then the 10 year anniversary would be in 1927, just about right for when this pencil was made. There’s also some tiny lettering on the side:


G. Felsenthal & Sons was a specialty advertising firm and was the manufacturer of the celluloid casing on the pencil, not the pencil itself. The manufacturer of the pencil is identified at the top:


"Snap Pat. Pending." It all adds up, doesn’t it? The company advertised on this piece would have been ten years old right around the time Snap Point Pencil, Inc. acquired Vierling’s pending patent – Mr. Vierling’s, that is.

When Mr. Vierling's Snap is disassembled and shown next to Mrs. Vierling’s Dow, the similarities are undeniable:


The only real difference between the two is that Mrs. Vierling’s Dow pencil has a friction fit mechanism that slides down inside the barrel, while Mr. Vierling’s Snap pencil screws into place. When loaded with lead, the mechanism on each protrudes from the top, giving you a rough idea of how much lead is inside the barrel:

1 comment:

Michael Little said...

Looks like I am going to have to rethink how much I charge Mr. Veley for these obviouisly valuable pencils.
Based on the excitement he is showing, I may have to triple my prices.
I would have already done if we didn't share the same college alma mater....

Michael Little
Ebay: Halfhyde