Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wahl's Other Precious Metal

Collecting Wahl metal pencils from the 1920s requires extreme attention to detail; what would appear to be identical pencils to even a seasoned collector are often revealed on close examination to be interesting variations, differentiated by pattern, by design elements or by the composition of the metal in the barrels.

Solid gold Eversharps are relatively easy to spot even without reading the imprints, since they are found in patterns not shared by their gold filled cousins.  But both green gold filled and yellow gold filled examples can be found in the same patterns, and vermeil pencils – gold over silver – are also found in those same patterns.  Sterling and “triple plated” or “silver plate” pencils are also found in identical patterns.

But out of all the metals used by the company, this one has got to be the most rare of them all:


This one is imprinted simply “Wahl Eversharp,” without a second line to assist with either identifying the metal content or to narrow down the date of manufacture:


While English Eversharps are frequently found with an imprint reading simply “Eversharp,” it is very unusual to find an American version with a one-line imprint.  The flat clip and short tip suggest pre-1924 manufacture:


Normally I would say “indicate” rather than “suggest,” except this is no ordinary Eversharp and it may have been a custom run made after 1924 from older parts.  Although the metal content isn’t imprinted anywhere on the pencil, the inscription on the barrel indicates what this one is made from:


“Presented by / Central Copper Company.”  That’s right – this is a made-to-order, custom copper Eversharp (note, though, that the clip is plated brass).  This one isn’t just copper on the outside, either:



The mechanism, made of steel on every other metal Eversharp I’ve seen, is in this case made of copper-plated brass . . . even the plunger rod.

Several companies operated out west using the name “Central Copper Company,” but the most prevalent – and the only one which appeared to operate by just that name (without preceding it with “Ely” or “Butte”) -- was located in Arizona.  The company was active in the 1920s.

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