Wednesday, March 11, 2015

In Case You Didn't See the Family Resemblance

After the Philadelphia Show, I reported that these two were among the brightest stars to come from the "Mother Lode" collection I purchased there:


The gold filled example is a leadholder made by George W. Heath & Co., while the sterling example with the clip is also made by Heath. David Nishimura has suggested over on his blog that the design of the Eversharp pencil is attributable to Heath, which simply adapted the inside of Keeran’s Eversharp to its existing line of "clutch pencils" (David’s article can be found at http://www.vintagepensblog.blogspot.com/2013/12/who-designed-eversharp-pencil.html).

That conclusion isn’t readily obvious from the above picture, but it’s crystal clear with this example:


This was the first thing I found at the Baltimore Show last weekend, early in the morning on Friday before I had even set anything up. Put this one alongside an early Eversharp and there’s no question "who’s yer daddy":


For whatever reason, Heath usually didn’t mark the company’s gold filled stuff, but when it came to sterling products, Heath never missed a beat:


That "H" inside what look like brackets is Heath’s traditional hallmark. Since Heath also made these for other companies, such as Carey (see http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-second-carey.html), the works are also separately marked:


Note that both the barrel and the clip are marked "Pat. App. For." The patent for the clip is well documented:


George W. Heath and Alfred C. Heath applied for patent 1,145,583 on June 12, 1912 and it wasn’t issued until July 6, 1915 – coinciding perfectly with advertisements for this pencil David Nishimura turned up from December, 1912. But what of the patent for the pencil itself? Was one ever issued? The two Carey examples I have don’t have this imprint and neither does my sterling Heath cadaver (missing the clip); however, my gold-filled Heath example does.

I don’t think a patent was ever issued for the pencil itself. Neither George nor Alfred ever received a patent for the pencil, and none of the other leadholder patents in my book fit this description, either. The December, 1912 advertisement in David’s article makes much of the fact that the clip is patented but is silent as to the pencil mechanism, which suggests that by that time the application was either denied or withdrawn.

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