Don’t get me wrong. He’s a really nice guy and I have bought some things off of him over the years. This summer I found something on his table that I just haven’t been able to explain. Here’s the pencil part:
The business end of it is a simple leadholder. Screwing the nozzle on tightens those prongs around a piece of lead:
The pencil part fits into a holder about five inches long, covered in a canvas like material. It’s reversible, so you can insert it either way:
I haven’t been able to track down what sort of business Mr. Seidel was engaged in, and a google search reveals that there were and still are an awful lot of Seidels living in Blue Island (it’s a substantial suburb of Chicago). My best guess of what this pencil could be is that it is meant to be an umbrella figural, with the handle missing – the next time I was in Springfield I made a point to paw through that dealer’s cases again looking for something that might have gotten separated from this, but with no luck.
Any other guesses?
UPDATE: Dale Yessler, dedicated blog reader and full-time good egg, directed my attention to Pendemonium’s website (www.pendemonium.com), where a fully intact example is offered for sale. Sam and Frank Fiorella, the owners of Pendemonium, allowed me to reprint pictures of their example, closed:
And open, to reveal the dip pen at the end of the umbrella "handle": Thanks, Dale, Sam and Frank!