Monday, November 10, 2014

A Good Grip On My Attention

I’m pretty sure this one came my way in a box of junk:


The clip is what really got my attention, especially with that great imprint:


"Pat / Good Grip / 5-24-09" Or should I say "5?-24?-09"? The date’s not very easy to read. It’s a bit more legible viewed from the side, as is how it’s put together:


I’m pretty confident that I’ve got the date right, and there is a patent for a clip issued on May 24, 1909, to Fredrick C. Lowery of Waterbury, Connecticut:


Doesn’t look much like our Good Grip, does it? A read of the text indicates that this is what we are looking for – what Lowery patented was a clip blank with built-in studs on the back side, so that the clip could be riveted onto any surface without the rivet heads showing on the clip’s face. In this application, Lowery’s clip was riveted onto a U-shaped spring, which was in turn affixed to the barrel.

But to the barrel of what? This is nothing more than a hollow tube, and the end clearly wasn’t intended to have lead protruding through it:


And then it dawned on me. This isn’t a pencil itself - the whole thing is a holder for one:


As for who made this thing, I did find a reference to it in the question-and-answer section of The American Stationer on April 20, 1918:


The device must not have been advertised very much, because two years later another reader asked the same question, which was answered on August 28, 1920:


"White & Perkins" was a stationer’s firm. The name refers to S.M. White and F.W. Perkins, who in late 1906 took over operations of the failed J. H. Walbridge & Co. The announcement appeared in the December 15, 1906 edition of The American Stationer:


The 1911 Directory of Directors in the City of New York identified "F.W." as Frank W., "S.M." as Samuel M., and noted the addition of an "A.G. White" as an additional director:


The move to 444 Broadway was reported in the February, 1915 issue of Notion and Fancy Goods:


Notions and Fancy Goods also ran the following advertisement for White & Perkins, for an "embroidery stiletto":


Note that in this advertisement, White & Perkins is the "selling agent," while Charles M. Haynes of Newark, New Jersey is identified as the manufacturer; this suggests that The American Stationer’s report that White & Perkins was the "manufacturer" of the Good Grip clip may not have been entirely accurate – although White & Perkins is where you could get them.

Charles M. Haynes was an interesting character who authored a couple of articles in 1911 advocating better coordination of patents to prevent litigation over what was and was not in the prior art:


Here’s an advertisement Haynes ran in the February, 1908 issue of Hardware Dealers’ Magazine:


Note the "Manufacturers of other specialties" notation at the bottom of the ad?  Between towel hangers and embroidery stilettos, it appears that Haynes made all sorts of stuff -- knocking off a run of Good Grip pencil holders now and again for a good customer like White & Perkins would have been no problem for a man with his manufacturing capabilities.   That's why Haynes is my best guess as to the true manufacturer of the "Good Grip."

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