At the DC show a few weeks ago, this set caught my eye on Jean Buchser’s table. The price was fair, but since the price included one of those pesky pens I don’t collect, I asked if I could borrow it for a few photographs:
The clip on the pen reads “The Union Pen,” while the matching pencil is marked “Unity” crowned by the letter U in a wreath:
I’d seen both of these items, but never together, so I’d never connected the two in my mind -- but it makes perfect sense that the two would have been matched as a set. Any doubts concerning whether the two were mated together is resolved by the matching price bands:
Gulp! $7 was the hefty price of a Parker Big Red when new, and $3 for that pencil? No wonder you don’t see these very often – they couldn’t have sold too many at that price! And speaking of price, ninety years later I was again mulling over the price of it. Jean wanted a bit more than I wanted to pay, but I just loved the color and those wadded-up instructions were just begging to be flattened out and read . . . I made Jean an offer, he declined, he countered, I declined . . . after a couple hours of wandering past each other’s tables and casually lobbing offers and counters at each other, a couple hours later we found a happy middle ground and the set came home with me.
I’m fully aware that at any time over the last ninety years, anyone could have stuck unrelated paperwork in with this set. But in this case, what I found when I carefully straightened out what was left of this paperwork made sense:
Diamond Point was known for making writing instruments out of unusual plastics not found on other pens and pencils, and this Union Pen/Unity set is made from a plastic that certainly mimics the mottled patterns seen on Diamond Points of the 1920s. I’d be willing to accept that this set was made by Diamond Point.
Which brings me back around to an unidentified pencil I blogged about here back on February 12, 2012 (“Have you seen me?” at http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2012/02/have-you-seen-me.html). Side-by-side with the Unity pencil, it looks pretty close:
Close, but maybe not close enough. The clips are slightly different, even though the overall construction is the same and the same mottled pattern appear on both plastics.
And I still have no idea what that logo is supposed to be.