In all the excitement that surrounded the flurry of neat items Tanya Hile listed, I tripped over Michael Little chasing after this one – I got so excited that I didn’t notice that he was the high bidder when I jumped into the fray:
This is a rear drive pencil, with a painted wood barrel:
On the upper part of the barrel is the imprint:
"Zabco Cols. O. Pat Appl’d For."
That weird shape, a company name that starts with "Z" and a Columbus address can only mean one thing: this is an early example of a Zaner Bloser pencil. My research on the company indicates that Charles Paxton Zaner, founder of the Zanerian College of Penmanship in Columbus, Ohio, sold an interest in his company to Elmer Ward Bloser in 1891. While a number of sources say that the two operated as a partnership for some time until formally changing the name to Zaner Bloser in 1895, I haven’t seen any sources to indicate what the name of that partnership was.
Could it have been ZABCO? It’s a neat thought, but I doubt it. In the first place, I think the pencil mechanism is a little later than 1891-1895 and probably dates to the teens or early twenties. Second, that unique shape was the subject of a design patent, all right, but not for a pencil and not until 1901:
The first patent I could find for a pencil involving the Zaner-Bloser Company was design patent number 100,845, filed by Parker Z. Bloser on May 13, 1936 and granted August 18, 1936:
I do believe "Patent Applied For," when it comes to this pencil, does refer to the unique mechanics of the pencil, and not just the outer design of it. If the patent ever turns up, I’ll find it by accident or by finding one that actually has a patent number on it – once you overlay Zaner-Bloser’s distinctive profile over a pencil, it’s going to be hard to recognize from the drawings. And that, blog followers, is a challenge!
Before leaving the subject of Zaner-Bloser alone for awhile, I did have one other example to share. This is another in the painted wood barrel genre, and at first it outwardly appears no different than the others I’ve shown off here, save for the color:
But I really liked the message on this one: