When this second-generation (1924-1930) metal Wahl Eversharp popped up in an online auction, I knew it was special:
If your eyes are sharp enough to see those offset squares and wonder what that pattern might be, your eyes will pop out when you see this one up close:
The squares are an optical illusion, caused by alternating the direction of the engine turning. This is by far the most intricate pattern I’ve ever seen on an Eversharp before - no portion of the barrel remains untouched, between the horizontal lines, the vertical lines and the squiggly ones.
This example also has another interesting feature. I was disappointed at first when I received it, thinking that the clip might be damaged, but on closer inspection I saw that the scalloped end of the clip tang was made this way – the gold fill on the end is intact.
I’ve never seen a name for this pattern. I’ve heard rumors that a few of these are floating around out there, so I don’t think “prototype” is a very accurate description, but without question it certainly must have been a very limited production, very labor-intensive number.
Personally I’ve never seen this pattern on a production piece, but I have seen it once. OK, actually three times, but all at once. It was a few months ago, when I met up with Jack Leone to photograph a few things from his collection. Jack is an avid John Holland collector, and he’s made contributions here at the blog in that capacity – in fact, the primary motivation for my visit was to photograph his Holland “push-pull” pencils (see “Nope . . . It Isn’t Broken” on March 28, 2013 – http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2013/03/nope-it-isnt-broken.html).
What I didn’t know about Jack until then was that he shares my passion for collecting Wahl Eversharp. When it comes to weird Eversharp engine-turned patterns, he’s got me beat. In fact, he’s got all of us beat.
Jack showed me a case of Eversharp prototype barrels, rescued from Parker after the Eversharp division was dismantled:
A couple old and yellowed tags on the case tell about all there is to know about these:
Since I now had a weird Eversharp pattern I couldn’t identify, I went back to look more closely at the pictures I took of Jack’s prototype pieces, and in one grouping I had caught three examples with this same engine-turned pattern:
Tinted in purple (top), pink (fifth from top) and black (seventh from top).