Monday, November 28, 2016

As Rex Grew

This nice little Webster pencil came out of that collection I picked up in DC last summer:


Above the clip is the simple imprint “Pat. Pen.”:


The tip is a two-stage affair, with an upper shell held in place by the screwed-in tip:


This is one of the family of mechanical pencils made by the Rex Manufacturing Company that I’ve written about often here, and I knew this one was going to be a keeper.  The mottling of the hard rubber on this barrel is really distinctive, but what got my attention even more was the fact that the barrel was faceted rather than round – something you hardly ever see.  Even if I had a round barreled example in this color at home, the CDO collector in me (that’s OCD, but with the letters in alphabetical order) compelled me to bring it home and put it next to it.

And when I did, I noticed something . . .


It’s not quite the same size, and if you look closely, none of the parts are compatible with a “normal” Rex pencil.  The tip is shorter, the barrel is thinner, the cap is also narrower and . . . well heck, even the clip has a slightly different shape.

That got me to thinking.  Webster was one of the earliest brand names associated with Rex pencils, and the “Pat. Pen.” imprint certainly calls to mind the possibility that this might be a transitional model.  That gave me the idea to compare it with another pencil in my collection, marked only with Rex’ patent date of February 19, 1924 on it (I wrote about that one here more than three years ago, at http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2013/07/rex-redux.html):


Hmmm.  Small, medium and large – and the small is made from exactly the same rubber.  Perhaps as the Rex Manufacturing Company grew, so did the company’s pencils.

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