I had never heard of a brand of pencil called the “Franklin” before this fall. Once I did, though, I wondered why no one else had appropriated the name of such a prominent American, particularly an inventor. Three examples surfaced, all from one online seller: a red hard rubber ringtop, a round black hard rubber side clip model, and a faceted black hard rubber ringtop. The side clip model has what appears to be an original sales tag on it:
None is marked with a patent date or any other indication as to who manufactured them:
I’ve got a pretty good idea, though. See that rib on each of the nose cones? That distinctive feature is found on early Rex Manufacturing Company pencils. Remember that little hard rubber Webster set from a while back?
The February 19, 1924 patent date refers to Lawrence T. McNary’s patent number 1,484,180:
I was content to add another member to the Rex Manufacturing Company’s credit. It bugged me a little wondering why there were no patent numbers or “Pat. Pend.” marks on any of these Franklins, but there are other Rex-made pencils which don’t, either – Supremacy and Artcraft, for example.
And then something else surfaced, which leaves me with a big loose end that bugs me a lot. A separate online seller has been selling these, five or so tubes at a time:
Since I had never heard of a Franklin pencil before, finding a nice stash of lead tubes for the “Franklin Automatic Pencil” was a nice add on - although it’s quite a coincidence to find this stash coming from another source. Ordinarily that would wrap things up nicely - pencils, patent and lead . . . what more could I want?
The tubes, you might notice, appear to have labels glued over another label. One of the ones that came with mine was loose, so I could flatten it out for this picture:
What’s interesting is what is underneath these labels:
Shur-Rite leads. Why is that interesting? I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.
Note: the next installment is at http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2016/01/nothings-for-shur.html.