Thursday, September 1, 2016

Just Wasn't As Rite As I Hoped For

These two surfaced online in a single auction, from a seller who didn’t appear to sell many writing instruments:


I thought it was interesting that both had the same imprint, which I haven’t seen before:



“Just-Rite / P.S.M. Co.”  Note that both of these have the diamond pattern around the crown, just like what you’d find on a DeWitt-LaFrance made Signet pencil (made for the Rexall stores) and that little rib on the barrel matches what you’ll see on most Ever-Rites:


But the tops on these pull off to reveal no Sheafferesque eraser:


A search on Newspapers.com revealed three advertisements mentioning “Just-Rite” pencils, but none of them were accompanied by a picture.  The earliest was from 1922, which seems about right:


The other two were later.  This one appeared in the Portsmouth (Ohio) Daily Times on October 9, 1925:


And this one appeared in The Hutchinson (Kansas) News on September 9, 1927:


I did some scoping around to see what I could find about a “P.S.M. Co.,” and I’ve found some intriguing clues.  Here’s a watch fob chain marked P.S.M. Co., with about the same quality of material found on my pencils:


But then there were a string of hits for cufflinks marked both “Belais” and “P.S.M. Co.,” like this one:


The Belais Brothers were famous for the white gold jewelry they produced – not to add to the Internet din, but they frequently are referred to as “the gods of white gold.”  More than one source speculates that Belais made the decorative fronts of the cufflinks, while the shadowy “P.S.M. Co.” made the utilitarian business end.

I haven’t been able to figure out what P.S.M. stands for; words like “metal specialties” are frequently used in the pencil/jewelry industry, but Pencil Specialties Metal doesn’t quite make sense.  When the name emerges, I might find more clues indicating whether PSM was a customer/producer who bought pencils made by someone else, or whether they actually manufactured them.

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