Sunday, November 30, 2014

Alexanders . . . Not the Great, But Still Pretty Good.

The last time we encountered the Alexander was with this stocked store display that I got from Joe Nemecek a couple years ago (http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2012/08/sylish.html):


This display indicates that the "Alexander the Great" pencils were from the Alexander Products Corporation of Bloomington, Illinois, and the design of these was so unique that I don’t have any reason to doubt that Alexander Products made these. However, the "Model 100" pencils shown in that previous article were the only Alexanders I’m aware of which were intended solely as writing instruments rather than as advertising novelties.

There’s three possibilities for what happened: Ritepoint purchased Alexander, Alexander switched business models and hired Ritepoint to make advertising pencils, or Alexander was a Ritepoint subsidiary all along. Alexander pencils outside of the "Alexander the Great" series are clearly Ritepoint-made:


I rule out a fourth possibility – that there were two companies going by "Alexander," because the same logo appears on these as you’ll see on the Alexander the Great. The date of 1949 is helpful on the one example, and shows there may even have been overlapping production (the Alexander the Greats were advertised in 1946). On another example, AM-117-C suggests, in Ritepointspeak, an Alexander model 117 pencil, maroon, with a chrome cap:


Many of the clips have an A within a square above the name, but a few have something else that took a heavy-duty macro lens to capture:


"Union Made." The logo on the orange example has some great detail, too:


"Longhorn pencils . . .The Brand of Quality." I wasn’t able to find any evidence of a move from Illinois to the Lone Star state. However, the "Alexander Manufacturing Company" turns up in St. Louis – where Ritepoint was headquartered – and where it still operates today (the company’s website is www.alexandermc.com). According to the company’s website, the firm was founded in 1943, and the company’s chairman of the board was inducted into the PPAI hall of fame in 2003.

That chairman was Joe Lipic, Sr. ... so I don’t even need to speculate that these next three look like they might have a Lipic connection:


Funny story on that last shot: the green one has a powerful magnet.... so powerful, in fact, that I was having trouble keeping these three in line for a group photo. I ended up angling the blue and white one away from it, sticking it to the board with a bit of fun-tack, and capturing this shot as it drifted back towards the green one and came back into line.

1 comment:

Byron Radcliffe said...

There were 3 Pen companies all owned by members of the Lipic Family:

Joseph Lipic Pen Company - Joseph Lipic (founding) Joseph Lipic, II, Leonard Lipic, Emil Lipic and Walter Lipic

Ritepoint Pen Company - Owned by Sylvester Lipic (started in 1933) Sylvester was the brother of Jospeh Lipic Jr, Leonard Lipic, Emil Lipic and Walter Lipic

Alexander Pen Company- purchased in the late 60's/early 70's by Joseph Lipic III and his brother Robert Lipic (son's of Joseph Lipic IIs)

All 3 companies were totally independent of the other and had no-intercompany relationship. They all happened to be owned by son's/grandson's of the Lipic family