In a recent online auction, I couldn’t resist this one, even though I thought it might not be an American pencil (I still strive mightily to limit myself to one country of origin, even though it’s been a losing battle lately):
At the nose, there’s a tiny hallmark: a block letter M within a square.
I was so sure that the piece was British that I was thinking Mosley, perhaps even Mordan? But then I noticed how similar it was to another piece in my collection, one I bought a couple years ago and haven’t gotten around to photographing:
That same combination of gently winding flutes in the center section and snail work at either end couldn’t be just a coincidence, and the gold magic pencil is well marked:
“Mabie, Todd & Co. No. 3.” So I posted the question online to ask whose hallmark consisted of an M within a square, and within minutes David Nishimura came back with an answer: Mabie Todd.
Good, I replied. I was hoping you’d say that.