Now that’s pretty high praise coming from Janet. I’ve shown her thousands of pencils over the years, and on many occasions tried to explain to her what makes this one or that one special, valuable or well, just pretty neat. Most of the time she’ll pat me on the head and say "of course it is, honey" or "I’ll take your word for it."
Or most often, "did you say something?"
Actually, it’s not quite like that. Just recently, I showed her a pencil and she said "Now, that’s a Skyline, right?" And she was. Coulda knocked me over with a feather!
But this time, she knew instantly that the pencil I was showing her, another from the Tanya Hile’s online offerings, was truly different from any of the thousands of others I’ve shown her:
On the side, this one is embossed with the words, "Baby Jumbo Pat Pending J&S Co.":
As it turned out, this one was easier to track down than I thought it would be. While we pencil folks often have never heard of these, thanks to those little colored dots inside of this barrel there’s a dedicated community of collectors who know it well: those little colored dots are pieces of candy, and the community in question is the candy container collectors.
What, you say? People collect candy containers? Yes they do, and there’s enough variety there to keep them pretty busy. In fact, there’s a national club called the Candy Container Collectors of America. Now don’t you dare snicker, because you’re reading a blog all about pencils, for heaven’s sake.
From the Candy Container Collectors of America’s website (definitely worth a visit at http://www.candycontainer.org/
) I learned quite a bit about the Candy Container industry in the United States. According to the experts, candy containers were mostly made in a relatively small region in western Pennsylvania around Jeannette, Pennsylvania. Since the raw materials needed for glass production were readily available in that area, there were several manufacturers turning these out in all shapes and sizes.
According to Terry Whitmeyer, who wrote an article online at (http://www.antiquesandauctionnews.net/article_print.lasso?-a=Classy+And+Colorful+Candy+Containers), "Jeanette and Grapeville were the two towns where most manufacture took place. The major manufacturers from this area, operating during the height of the industry were: West Brothers Company; T.H. Stough; Westmoreland Specialty Company.; Westmoreland Glass Company; Jeannette Glass Company; Victory Glass Inc.; L.E. Smith; J.H. Millstein; and J.C. Crosetti Company. "
And from an example posted on the Candy Container Collectors of America’s website that still had intact paper labels, I now know it was T.H. Stough Co. that produced the Baby Jumbo. That, in turn, made it easier to search for the meaning of "Pat. Pending" on the side:
Which leaves only one loose end to wrap up: the CCCA website’s picture shows not a "Baby Jumbo," but a "Jumbo." There’s a bigger one out there to watch out for now!