Solving the Selfeed puzzle was one of my proudest moments. Not only was the long-lost history of who made these pencils finally brought to light, but the convoluted path leading to that history was a story in itself (the article was published at http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2012/11/one-wild-goose-chase.html).
There was just one last little nagging issue that I couldn’t shake. Here’s the pencil that kick-started that story:
I couldn’t help thinking that there might be a piece missing from the top, and those suspicions were confirmed when this one showed up in an online auction:
This one almost looks like the halves of two pencils glued together, but I could tell from that top that this one might have an eraser cap that had been lost on the black example I found. When it arrived, I pulled off the cap to discover that what was underneath it was the same as the exposed portion of my black example:
As far as what was going on at the front end, on close examination I discovered that the wide brass band was added to reinforce a badly cracked barrel. Apparently someone thought it would look better to remove all of the chrome plating on the tip so that this band would match the nose:
No worries, as far as I was concerned. I was paying for an eraser cap and the knowledge that these were also made in woodgrain plastic.
And I’ve set my mind at ease on this one – for now.