There was something in yesterday’s article that I promised I would get back to, and yet I didn’t. It concerned an offhand remark that the pencils advertised by Dunn & Rodenberg in 1919:
Bore more of a resemblance to these pencils, made by the American Lead Pencil Company of New York:
As I followed up on that thought, the train was taking me farther and farther from the story I was trying to tell you . . . which in itself was inside a story I was trying to tell you about the Ever-Rite. I keep thinking that like a set of Matryoshka dolls, maybe there’s one at the very center of this story holding a little sign that says "Congratulations! The answer is . . ."
No such luck just yet, but to introduce you to this next sized smaller red herring, I’ve got to back up just a little bit more, to address another offhand comment I made, this one in the original Ever-Rite article. When I was going through my small stash of Ever-Rites to see whether they ticked just like a Sheaffer inside, I made the comment that four out of five of them look like this when you pull off the top:
Was anybody wondering what that fifth one out of five looks like?
When I gave the cap on this one a tug, rather than seeing a Sheaffer-style lead magazine, the entire works pulled out, and it looked like this:
The mechanism on this is really odd – the inside of the barrel is threaded to accept this short bushing, which is pinned to a short pushrod:
I can’t find a patent for this one anywhere, and it isn’t marked that there was one. In fact, there’s no imprint on the barrel at all – the only lettering to be found on this one is found on the top of the cap:
It wasn’t until I stumbled across that Dunn & Rodenberg ad at the beginning of this article that I started looking a little closer at my American Lead Pencil metal pencils, and an association I had always considered to be random came into sharper focus. These pencils – when they aren’t capped by a really tacky fake jewel like that shorter one – are marked . . . you guessed it . . .
. . . and my one example of the Ever-Rite and these A.L.P. Co. pencils are the only two metal pencils I have that are marked like this.
Seems like a pretty thin connection. After all, the Ever-Rite is a rear drive mechanism, and the Americans are nose drive. That means, when I pull off the caps on my two examples of the American, I wouldn’t expect to see . . .
There’s no reason why the American needs a lead magazine like this - it doesn’t have a mechanical function. Why? I don’t know.