Saturday, March 2, 2013

Whew!

I worry when I go out on a limb. Sure, part of throwing new research out there is having someone come forward with a piece of evidence you didn’t know about that proves you’re completely wrong. Sure, it’s all part of the learning process. But that doesn’t mean you don’t feel pretty silly when it happens.

I am pleased to report that this is not one of those stories.

I recently picked up another example of the Auto-Sharp:


This one is different from the one I featured in an article I wrote way back on January 30, 2012. In the first place, it’s nickel silver rather than gold filled:


And also, if my other one had an imprint that was this crisp, I wouldn’t have had nearly as much trouble reading what it said:


But the real reason I bought it is that it gave me a reason to circle back around to the real headline from that story: that the Auto-Sharp was actually the first pencil made by the New Diamond Point Pen Co. All that I had at the time I wrote that last article was a reference from a 1922 issue of The American Stationer to connect Auto-Sharp to Diamond Point, and so I really did feel like I was out on a limb with that conclusion.

The good news is, after I finished downloading all the old issues of The American Stationer I could find and starting thumbing (as much as you can electronically "thumb") through them, the additional evidence I found proved the case even more convincingly than my original article.

From the May 1, 1920 issue of The American Stationer:

and from June 5, 1920:


Whew – looks like I got that one right. And as it turns out, these advertisements prove two things:

1. Marc Kolber’s Pennant article from 2007 about the New Diamond Point Pen Company contains an error: Kolber states that Diamond Point began offering pencils in 1922 or 1923. While it may be true that Diamond Point didn’t start making its own pencils marked "Diamond Point" until then, these advertisements prove that Diamond Point was offering the Auto-Sharp pencil as early as 1920.

2. At the time of my earlier article, I wasn’t sure whether Diamond Point was manufacturing Auto-Sharp pencils under a license from Pencil Products Corp. and Lucifer Most, the inventor of the pencil, or whether Pencil Products Corp. was supplying Diamond Point with pencils marked "Auto-Sharp." That question is answered by the timing of these advertisements and this article, which appeared in The American Stationer on May 8, 1920:


Pencil Products Corp. (notice that the president was James Salz?)  settled into its new and expanded facilities and started cranking out these pencils to meet "unusually heavy demand" at exactly the same time Diamond Point began offering the Auto-Sharp for sale.

There’s no question where Diamond Points was getting its pencils in 1920!

No comments: