Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Collecting By The Numbers

It bugs me when there are unsightly gaps, whether they be in my memory of a series, or the series itself.   Today’s story involves both.

Since I was writing about early Eagle pencils yesterday, I had cause to go back and have another look at this picture, from “Eagle’s Banner Year of 1909" back on February 16, 2012 (http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2012/02/eagle-week-part-4-eagles-banner-year-of.html):


With the No. 829 “Little Torpedo,” the No. 830 “Torpedo” and the No. 833 “Borneo,” I wondered out loud, where are numbers 831 and 832?

So we’ll start with the gap in my memory.  The No. 831, which I wrote about just a month later in March, 2012, was the Spear:


The box Art sold me at the Philly show that once contained Eagle No. 831s (“Sharpening My Understanding of the Spear on February 6, 2013 at http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2013/02/sharpening-my-understanding-of-spear.html) says that the No. 831 had gilt bands:


But from the earlier picture, the 831 could be had with or without gilt bands.  Looks like you got a deluxe silver-colored nose cone if you went bandless.

So that resolves the Eagle No. 831.  For the No. 832, we fast forward to the Baltimore show, where I once again met up with Art Cox to photograph some more of the neat stuff he had.  One of the items he showed me was this one:


Art theorizes that this must have been a store display pencil, fitted with two accommodation clips to show off a wider range within Eagle’s product line.  While the lower clip is a fairly typical Eagle clip, the upper one is one I hadn’t seen before:


This one is probably just different enough from other similar accommodation clips of the era to avoid a claim of patent infringement, yet close enough that Eagle probably didn’t apply for one of its own.  However, I think the upper clip is what gives this neat little pencil its name; pushing in on the top of the clip causes a reflex of the lower part of the clip, releasing whatever it’s grabbing.  And when you examine the opposite side of the pencil:


“No. 832 Reflex / Eagle Pencil Co. New York / Pat. Apr. 6 July 20 1909.”   Both these patents were illustrated in discussed in “Eagle’s Banner Year of 1909,” the latter of which may also provide some insight into the name “Reflex” – the floor of the lead compartment in the top has a spring in it, so that when the cap is screwed on, the floor adjusts (“reflexes”) so that the leads are held firmly in place without rattling around.

1 comment:

Martha said...

Reflex would be a good name for that "let-go" clip, too.