Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Always a Crowd Pleaser

You knew I’d have to find something green to write about today.  Paul Erano obliged me with this one at the Baltimore Show weekend before last:



This little phone dialer Gordon joins two others; the bronze and cream one (with the red veined and cream top) was featured here about two years ago (see http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2013/03/like-playing-lottery.html):


As I mentioned in my other articles, there were two versions of this clip.  This example is the earlier sort, for which William Gordon, of Union, New Jersey, filed a patent application on April 3, 1930.  It was granted as patent number 1,834,151 on December 1, 1931:


These clips were absolutely wicked.  When you put it in your pocket, little fangs on the underside of the clip sank into the material and prevented the pencil from being removed . . . with a death grip:


In theory, when you push that wire bail downwards, the fangs retract to allow the pencil to be removed:


Whenever I show a Gordon off, people have a lot of questions about them.  As I reread the last two articles I’ve written on the subject, there were a couple I haven’t answered here yet - so I’m jumping at the chance to show these off again.  The first was what that tiny little logo is at the bottom of the clip, and now that I’m getting better with a camera I can show you:


It’s a “G” flanked by lions, with “Pat. Apl.” written below - probably a reference that these were made after April, 1930.

Second question: did they also make pens?  Why yes they did:


There’s not much unusual about the black one – other than the Gordon clip, of course.  It’s a conventional lever filler with a generic steel nib.  The other example is a different story, however, featuring a “Gordon 14k” nib . . .


. . . as well as Gordon’s “improved” way of poking holes in your shirt pocket:




Gordon applied for the patent for the improved version on January 16, 1940.  Patent number 2,268,116 was issued for this clip on December 30, 1940:


The only other example I’ve found of this clip is on a pencil . . .


. . . a very special pencil, in fact.  Check out the imprint:


The company even turned out generic combos - combination pens and pencils:


If these two look familiar, you’re right: they are dead ringers for combos marked “Banker.”  In fact, one of these (I don’t remember which one) arrived from an online auction with a broken barrel, so I swapped out the barrel from the next Banker combo I ran across with no trouble.  There’s a funny sidebar with these: you might be able to see that the nickel-plated clip is a little different, and in more ways than one:


“Safer,” huh?  No question it’s the same company – note the same Gordon crest at the lower end of the clip.

The last question about these I’ve got just half an answer: were there any other versions of this clip?  The half an answer I can offer is that yes, there were – in theory:


Gordon’s first version of his clip was this gangly-looking thing, patent applied for on February 7, 1929 and issued as patent number 1,813,396 on July 7, 1931.  I’ve still never seen one and I do hope that someday one surfaces.  It shouldn’t be hard to spot if it does!

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