Monday, December 19, 2011

Sheaffer Pearlies Part I: and Then There Were Six

I've always had a soft spot for the Sheaffer pearlie.  My first pencil was one of these, albeit a later solid white school pencil, pictured on page 1 of The Catalogue:

Over the years, as I ran across other Sheaffer pearlies, I didn't get rid of any of them --even the ones which appeared to be duplicates of what I already had.  When I began to organize my Sheaffer page at the Mechanical Pencil Museum, I emptied the drawer onto the dining room table (that was another week Janet was without a decent table) and looked at them closely for the first time.  When I had finished, I had organized the hundreds of examples I had accumulated into five distinct varieties, easily distinguished by the style of clip:

From left, I referred to these as the flat, broad Sheaffer's clip; the flat, broad Fineline clip; the humped Sheaffer's clip; the ribbed horizontal Sheaffer's clip; and the ribbed vertical Sheaffer clip.

About a month ago, I found a sixth variety:

I had this article drafted and ready to go introducing this new addition to the family when bloop! -- a second example, this one in green, popped up on ebay.  All right, I thought to myself ... I'll wait until I get the green one so that I can post a picture of both of them.  A couple weeks later I have the green one in hand, reshot the photograph, was all set once again when bloop!

Red, too.  Seriously, people!  Where have all these been for the last ten years?  Have I been tripping over them all this time and not noticing them?  But even this wasn't all.  In addition to these three, a fourth example in all black (no white middle section) also showed up on ebay, but the seller wanted far too much for it.    Ah well -- it just goes to show that it doesn't matter how many of  these things you've seen, there's always going to be more out there that you haven't.

The clips on all of these "new to me" pearlies appear to be the latest in the pearlie series,  and they strongly resemble clips found on some of  the later Sheaffer pencils from the 1980s illustrated on page 148. 

Am I prepared now to say there were six varieties of the Sheaffer pearlie?  Nope.  In part two of this article tomorrow, you'll see why!

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