Monday, January 4, 2016

Maybe Even Closer Than We Think

When Eversharp got into the ballpoint business, it did so by “teaming up with” Eberhard Faber.  The Argentinian company which held the patents for the Biro ballpoint pen, Eterpen Financiera Sociedad, entered into a license agreement, jointly with Eversharp and Eberhard Faber – why is a story for another day.

For now, I’m going to share with you something you didn’t know about the Eversharp/Faber partnership:


All seven of these came in one grab bag in an online auction.  All are shown in the exact condition in which they came to me – pristine.  The varying condition of the clips is due to the cheap gold wash used on each of them:


The “PATD” must be a reference to a design patent, since there’s nothing out of the ordinary about the simple, stapled-in design.  I’ve searched and searched all of the usual suspects, including Harry Esterow and Clinton Marshall, and I have not been able as of yet to find it.  However, since Faber had more international connections, it may refer to a foreign patent.  Perhaps these were intended for that foreign market, which may also explain why these are the first examples of these pencils I’ve ever seen.

And when I saw them, I couldn’t wait to tear them apart to see if what I thought was inside would be there – it WAS:


There’s the Faber, disassembled, compared to an Eversharp Skyline.  Other than a few slight differences, such as the shape of the eraser button and the forward section of the mechanism, these are identical:


At first, I thought to myself, this would make perfect sense.  If Eversharp and Faber were friendly enough to cooperate on the ballpoint venture, maybe they were friendly enough to cooperate on the production of a repeating pencil.  And then, I thought to myself . . .wait a minute.  Eversharp and “friendly” in the same sentence??

Maybe there’s more to this.  You might recall that Samuel Kanner’s “Presto” repeating pencils evolved into the Everfeed, produced by the Gilfred Corporation of New York, which sued Eversharp for patent infringement of its repeating pencil design; the case was decided against Gilfred in 1942, when the Court invalidated Kanner’s patent (see “My Find of the Year” posted at http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-find-of-year.html).

So what does an Everfeed look like inside, when compared to the Faber?


It isn’t a perfect match, either, but note that the ends of the mechanisms have much more in common:


Did Eberhard Faber decide that the concept was fair game and jump into the market briefly as a third contender?  Was that the reason Eversharp decided to play nice with a company with which it had no previous dealings?  After all, the tiny Gilfred wasn’t a contender for market share, but if Eberhard Faber jumped into the repeating pencil market, Eversharp executives would be wise to sit up and take notice.

I’m not sure yet.  But in the course of researching these pencils, I stumbled across some really interesting stories involving the Fabers – beginning tomorrow with the answer to the question which Faber was which?

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