Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lighter Pencil Week Part 3: The Penciliter (second generation)

After World War Two, Ronson resurrected the "Penciliter" name and introduced a radically streamlined version of the product, for which the company applied for a design patent on June 7, 1947 (granted to Frederick Kaufmann on November 16, 1948 as Design Patent 151,771):

Here's an early second generation Penciliter, still in its velvet-lined presentation box.   These are frequently found in a very nice state of preservation:


There were a series of patents issued to Ronson for the second generation Penciliters within just a few short years.  Since Ronson was meticulous about imprinting all of their patent numbers on their products, these are fairly simple to date.  The patent information is imprinted on the lighter assembly, visible when removed from the barrel.  Here's our gold filled example:


This is one of the earliest second-generation Penciliters:  not even the design patent has been issued yet.  The only patent indicated is number 2,002,845, which was issued to Aronson on May 28, 1935.  As with the first generation Penciliters, this patent only covered the lighter assembly:

Here's a trio of later Penciliters:


The barrels shown are either lined, smooth or have a chasing reminiscent of Wahl's "Darts" pattern:


A closer examination of the tops reveals some other production differences:


Notice how the lighter assembly extends lower on the top example?  Here's another angle:


Again, by pulling out the lighter unit, patent numbers imprinted on these two confirm that the one on the left is a later model:


Both of these have Ronson's design patent number 151,771 on them, so both are post-1948.  The upper one is earlier, as it shows patent 2,455,698 (issued December 7, 1948) but not number 2,511,492 (issued June 13, 1950):  


But Ronson still wasn't done.  Note that even the later one still says "Other patents pending."  The last Ronson patent I found pertaining to pencil-lighter ccombinations (there were many other Ronson patents for lighter mechanisms that may also have been at play) was issued on December 4, 1951:

I haven't found any Penciliters with this last patent date; perhaps it's out there, perhaps Ronson just decided they'd already patented the Penciliter six ways to Sunday and didn't feel the need to put yet another number on their products. 

Or perhaps they just ran out of room.

6 comments:

Moparmisty said...

I see all of your posts deal only with Ronson in the USA & England. I have a Ronson Penciliter in its original case that is Made in Canada, Toronto, Canada, Can Patent 454882, March 1, 1949. US Pats 2,455,698-D151,771 . Other US & For Pats Pdg.

I've never seen another that is made in Canada. Does this add to the value and if so about what would the value be. Case and penciliter are in excellent condition (Red case, with red velvet) Rhodium plated Penciliter.
Thank you
Mary-Anne

Jon Veley said...

Hello Mary Anne, thanks for the comment.

I don't recall seeing Canadian examples offhand, but by the same token after I got done researching this article I wouldn't have thought to look at them.

As far as values, you'll note that I don't quote values for anything here at the blog - my focus is on the history of these things. I would suspect that if there's a premium on Canadian-made examples, that would apply to the ones being sold up in Canada.

Moparmisty said...

Thank you Jon. :)

Norma braswell said...

I have one that is full body but I don't know how to fill it can someone please help me out

Norma braswell said...

I have one that is full body but I don't know how to fill it can someone please help

Oggypop said...

What size lead do these take? Any preferred fluid for the lighter? Thanks.