Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Two-Bit Mystery Finally Solved!

One of my early exhibits at the Mechanical Pencil Museum displayed the "Tubit," shown here in both ringtop and full size models:

These are aluminum pencils with a pretty neat logo stamped on them, but no indication as to who made them. 

I theorized, at page 159 of The Catalogue, that these were made by Swanberg, which produced very similar looking aluminum pencils.  Here is a shot of the aluminum Swanbergs I've found:

The top example in this picture recently arrived from my Ferengi friend in Phoenix (Michael Little), who thought it would be a good match for the ringtop I had.  He was right, but what the new addition matched even better was my full sized Tubit:

Note the interesting bell top with exposed eraser, and the identical accommodation clips found on both.  But the knurling is different on the bell and on the barrel, and I still had not found a conclusive link between Swanberg and the Tubit to say that one was more than just a copy of the other.  I was starting to feel like the grizzled police chief in a cheesy crime drama:  "I don't care if we have the murder weapon and a confession, the DA will never go for it and he'll walk, I tell ya!  Find me something more!"

That something more arrived in the mail a few days ago, in the form of George Kovalenko's book, "Fountain Pen Patents 1911-50s."   George has been a tremendous help to me from the early days of the Mechanical Pencil Museum, and his frequent contributions of information (and grammatical corrections) helped me improve my site and caused me to give him special mention in The Catalogue.   George's book is more list than text, but it is the most powerful list I know of on the subject and it is a significant contribution to researchers in ou hobby.   It will take me years to digest the information it has in it.

The first night I had the book, I was scanning through it and one word stood out to me as brightly as if it were in ten foot tall, neonlettering:  Tubit.  Here's what George's book led me to:

There's no arguing with that.  Even the grizzled police chief in me has to admit:

"Book him.  Case closed."

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