Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Overcompensation

When I saw this pair of Wahl Eversharp pencils come up in an online auction, I found myself tilting my laptop screen around as I tried to figure out whether I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing:


The gold filled example is a typical ringtop, of which literally millions were made. But that sterling example is a little different. Eversharp referred to it as "The popular midget size Colonial design pencil" in the 1922 catalog, assigning it model number 45MW. Here it is, shown on page 13:


Well, mostly shown. While the midget size pencils are a bit more unusual, they aren’t all that hard to find. It was the cap on this one that had me really excited:


With the fuzzy pictures online and the way the pencils were positioned, it was difficult to be sure whether the cap was actually as long as it looks. It is, and I’ve never seen another one like it. There’s no evidence that someone stretched a normal Eversharp cap, and the detailing around the crown matches a normal Eversharp top (examine other metal pencils with similar crown caps, and you’ll find that everyone had their own unique designs they used around this band). There’s one other interesting thing about that cap: an extra ridge around the top:


I went through all the available catalogs in the PCA’s library, and there’s nothing listed for an accessory super-long cap. The midgets don’t appear in the 1919 catalog, and the PCA doesn’t have the company’s 1920 or 1921 catalogs – if anyone out there does, I would love to see them! In the 1922, 1923 and 1924 catalogs, the only caps in the spare parts section are the ringtop, the military clip and the plain cap for a full-sized model. The last time the midgets appear in the company’s catalogs was in 1924:


Interestingly, note that all these still have the shorter tips. For 1924, Wahl redesigned its metal pencil line with improved innards and a longer tip, but the company didn’t overhaul the midget-sized line. It may have been that the barrels were too short to accommodate a version of the improved design, or that Wahl just didn’t want to fool with it. For whatever reason, the line disappears from the 1925 catalog. The company continued to offer spare parts for metal pencils throughout the 1920s, but I couldn’t find any indication that more than one size cap was ever offered.

The 1924 catalog makes a point to indicate that the size of each of these pencils is 3 1/16". You’d think that if the company were offering these with a longer cap, there would be something at the end of the page that says "and if you feel the need to overcompensate for that . . . "

No comments: