Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Shaw-Barton Gets Its Due

Shaw-Barton, Inc. was founded in 1940 by a group of investors led by Jay S. Shaw, who formed the company and purchased the calendar and specialty advertising division of The American Art Works in Coshocton, Ohio.

You would think, since Coshocton is only about 30 miles from where I live, that I would have illustrated an extensive group of them in The Catalogue.  Unfortuantely, if you turn to page 134, there's a picture of one lonely example.  I just didn't have any on hand at the time I wrote the book. 

Shaw-Bartons don't get a lot of attention.  They're often written off as "only" advertising pencils, and usually they turn up in dollar boxes at flea markets.  But for what they are, they really are well made, and since the book was written I've made more of an effort to put together a better selection of the different varieties that are out there.

Here's what I've found so far:

The example on the left is the one illustrated in The Catalogue.  It and the one next to it share the same riveted clip:

Next are some very sleek and streamlined examples, one of which is an advertising piece for Shaw Barton:

Along the same lines, this one, also a Shaw Barton advertiser, has the same clip on an all-metal cap:

The next one also has a bullet shaped top, but the clip is a bit boxy,  reminiscent of the Rite-Rite Threadline:

It's also a Shaw Barton sample (you can see the "8061" just next to the clip) with a 1951 calendar on it, suggesting it was made in 1950:

And finally, the last two are really interesting.  The erasers are set in a specially designed plastic holder.  The white example has a 1960 calendar on it:

These are the latest Shaw Barton pencils I have been able to find.   From the information I've been able to put together, the company stopped producing writing instruments in the 1960s but continued printing calendars and other advertising materials long after.  The trademark lives on (last renewed in 2002), but it no longer has anything to do with advertising products. 

I'm sure that I'll be revisiting this topic as more information comes to light!


Adam Vaughn said...
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Adam Vaughn said...

I recently found what appears to be a Shaw-Barton salesman's sample case. It contains five ballpoint pens and three mechanical pencils, all bearing the Sheaffer name. It has "Shaw-Barton Coschocton, Ohio" on the outside, and an (undated) price list within a pocket inside the case; oddly, not all of the pens and pencils inside match what's on the list. One pencil is missing the clip, and not all of them have the model number printed on the case, but it's still pretty neat.

Michael Little said...

Jonathan and I have been trying to figure out what the initials AAW on the clips of some of my pencils stood for. We knew it wasn't A.A. Waterman as the pencils are not old enough to be Watermans.
I guess it did not occur to us that they might be American Art Works pencils.
The mystery was solved this morning when the postman brought me another AAW pencil with AAW stamped on the clip.
This one also has on the cap:
Am. Art Works
Coshocton, Ohio
R.C. Pat P.

So we now know what AAW stands for. But this imprint raises another question. What is the significance of R.C. Pat P. mean? I am thinking that Ritepoint Company either made these pencils for AAW or granted them a license to make them.

Guess we will have to look into that!

Michael Little

Anonymous said...

i have 15 of these pens in a original case separatly devided.holds up to 20 says on case barton writing instruments.all pens are like new.a varity of replacement springs.they all have a 5 digit phone no. for cochocton,ohio.that tells me they are 40s or 50s.i will sell this offer.steve 740-345-7082 newark,ohio

jbruceweeks (at) yahoo (dot) com said...

I have several "Circle-Scales" labeled "Shaw-Barton Coshocton, O." on the back. Central Foundry used to give these away as advertising. You can draw up to 6" circles, measure in inches or mm, convert degrees F to degrees C, and fractions to mm. They are great for simple sketching to work out an idea before going to CAD (these days). I'd love to get some more as mine are about worn out.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Stumbling on your blog today really warmed my heart. I started my career at Shaw-Barton and was there for 11 years. Of course, it was in the early 80's so the pen and pencil manufacturing had been long gone. But, I am glad to see that you are giving Shaw-Barton "its due". It really was a great company and too few people know it ever existed. However,a large portion of the population would remember the All American calendar featuring our Presidents' portraits, which hung in elementary classrooms across the country.
BTW: If I come across any circle scales in my stuff from back then, I'll be sure to post another comment.

Anonymous said...

I have one advertising MackTrucks, Allentown Pa. Not for sale though.

Bil Munsil said...

I have several Shaw-Barton items i collected off ebay over the years.

They will be going to my cousin, Kathy Shaw, whose father worked at and for the company. My folks and I visited the plant, lo, these many years ago.

Rumor is Stan was getting ready to go get Marilyn Monroe on a calendar when she died.

Bil Munsil
Mesa AZ
(My mother was a Shaw).

SherylHanna said...

My father worked for Shaw-Barton from the early 60's to the early 80's he stepped down from his position after being diagnosed with cancer. He worked for them out of our home in Cameron, Missouri. At some point in his career he achieved diamond status, and stayed at that level and above until he resigned. He won several trips through the years. One was to Spain; the company even paid full expenses for my mother to travel along with him. When I was in the first grade, I was extremely sick. My doctors had little hope that I might live. Mr. Barton was so concerned he flew into Kansas City, and then drove 140 miles round trip, to come and visit me and my dad while I was in the hospital. Even though I don’t much about the company, I know my dad really enjoyed working for them. Somewhere I might even have a few of the items that he sold. However, when I was sick, I put together scrapbooks full of sample pictures from calendars, and I still have those.

Sheryl Hanna
Hilo, HI

Jon Veley said...

I love that this article has become one of the top ten most popular articles here at the blog. This little company touched a lot of lives!

Anonymous said...

I have a pair of desk scissors that say "Shaw-Barton Coshocton, Ohio on them. Probably obtained in the 1940s.

Barb Bush said...

Both my grandfather and father worked for Shaw-Barton in the 40's and 50's. I have a meat carving set that is pristine and still in the leather carrying case. I believe it may be a sales prize of some kind.

Jan Wachsmuth said...

I have a 1953 calendar printed by Shaw Barton for Western Meat Company Inc Miami Fla. "girlie" illustrations are gorgeous. The artist is Mac Pherson. Anyone know anything about this. Not on eBay

Anonymous said...

My Dad was Regional Sales Manager for Shaw-Barton in Cincinnati (Ohio-Ky-IN territory) 1959 to 1980s. His station wagons were full of their stuff! I have lot of their things ... very cool blog.

Anonymous said...

My dad worked for Shaw Barton in the 70s and 80s. I still have some of his samples including nail clippers, key rings, kitchen gadgets, and tons of pens. We always had plenty of calendars, too!