Thursday, March 12, 2015

Symphonic Variations from Eversharp

The Eversharp Symphony was the company’s knee-jerk back-to-basics pen, introduced in 1948 on the heels of the ballpoint pen fiasco that mortally wounded the company. It didn’t sell well enough to put the company back on solid footing. Viewed from a collector’s standpoint more than half a century later, the pens were OK. The pencils, on the other hand, were in my opinion more well built than any others the company made.

Most of the time, the Symphonies you’ll find are of the "wedding band" Symphony or the wider band "Symphony Deluxe," with the occasional "Golden Symphony" showing up. I ran an article here awhile ago running down these variations (http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2013/08/eversharps-symphonies.html):


Lately, I’ve found three examples of the Eversharp Symphony which aren’t the usual fare. A couple weeks ago Mike Little sent me an email asking if I had interest in this one:


Why yes, I said. Yes I do. This is one of the original Raymond Loewy-designed Symphonies, as the line was originally unveiled in 1948; and it’s in much better shape than the one I illustrated in the last article:


Note that like the Loewy model I illustrated in that last article, the mechanism protrudes from the tip – an indication that this one also contains Charles Lovejoy’s 1944 patented mechanism (Lovejoy’s patent was assigned to the Moore Pen Company).


This one has all the design features as they were originally introduced, including the two-faceted clip, the brushed finish and that great detailing on the button:


That price sticker doesn’t break my heart, either!


This next one I've got to show you came out of Sam Knechel’s collection:


Jim Mamoulides shows this one alongside the companion fountain pen over at penhero.com, and he calls this a "second generation" Symphony from 1949. The pen still had Loewy’s "slipper cap" design, but note that on the pencil, the prongs of the mechanism no longer protrude from the tip – Eversharp had reverted to the same mechanism the company used on the Skyline series. Also, the clip has been rounded off and the top button has been switched to what Jim calls a "bullet" design:


The ones I've shown you so far don’t turn up that often, but they are well documented. This last one is a different story:


The Eversharp "Desk Pac" was one of the really weird ideas Eversharp rolled out in the 1950s. Eversharp only advertised it once, for $12.75 in the December 2, 1950 edition of The Saturday Evening Post:


By November, 1951, The Temple Company of Philadelphia, a clearance house, was wholesaling these at the discounted price of $7.40, with samples available for $2.90:


You never see these, and this set is in the box with paperwork:


The Christmassy label with the original $12.75 price squares with the original December 1950 advertisement. Note that the 703/1703 model numbers line up with the wide band "Symphony Deluxe" model, but there’s a curious "mm red" note handwritten on the model sticker. Could that mean "inspected by mm," or something else? The reason I ask is because what’s inside is no Symphony Deluxe like I’ve ever seen:


It is red, and the shape of the pen and pencil is consistent with a later Symphony, but these are all plastic – with ribbing where you’d expect to see a band. And to top things off, this is an advertisement set for the "Paul D. Osborn Desk Co.":


An Eversharp pencil variant I’ve never heard of, packaged in a set I’d only heard of but never seen? Now there’s a Symphony that’s truly music to my ears!

4 comments:

James Sexton said...

I have recently acquired an Eversharp Desk Pac almost identical to this one, except that the caps for the pencil and the ballpoint pen are gold. The pen has the original refill and is labeled "Eversharp -Kimberly 5-1" printed in white. The box is intact and contains a reflective paper label that says "Leonard Jewelry Co. Inc, New York" with a price of $10.50.
I would be more than happy to send you photos of this set.

Jon Veley said...

Hello James, thanks for the comment. Of course I'd like to see the pictures, and I'll post them here as an update -

Mike Kirk said...

I think James forgot. I, too, would like to see his photo. I think Michael Little may have the same pencil James does.

Anonymous said...

I too would like to see the picture James has. Up above in Jon's article, I blew up that Temple ad so I could see the details and it stated that the set contained the Reporter model. I did some more looking and I believe my pencil is a Reporter. That certainly is not a Reporter in the Christmas ad though. Maybe those sets were sold at different times with different models.

I was going to attach a photo of my set here but don't see a way to do it. Maybe that is why James didn't post his.

Michael Little
Phoenix, Arizona