Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Will the Gentleman from Bulgaria Please Stand . . .

A few weeks ago, I saw an Eagle Stop Gauge pencil at an online auction that I just had to have.  In the plus column was everything about the pencil; in the minus column was that the seller and the item were located in Bulgaria.  I shared my excitement with my pencil buddies in Chicago as I awaited the package; most were of the opinion that Bulgarian listings were unreliable, and I'd probably just been ripped off.

I didn't care.  I'd paypaled my payment and I was standing by the mailbox with my tongue hanging out, hoping against hope that my Bulgarian contact was legit.  He was!

Here is the long-awaited Eagle Stop Gauge Pencil, after a good scrubbin', and you may be looking at this wondering to yourself, "what's the big deal?"   Is it the ringtop that's been added to the button at the top?

Well, that is the first time I've seen a ringtop added to a Stop Gauge, but no, that's not the big deal about this.  Is it the faceted barrel?

I agree, this is the first one of these I've seen with a faceted barrel, but no, that's not the big deal here.  Is it the remarkably well-preserved imprint, which is so often so worn that it is barely legible?  Or that it's one of the relative few examples I've seen that's actually imprinted "Stop Gauge"?

Holy cow, that's nice, but no, that's not the big deal.  Is it because it's the first red one I've seen?

Huh, that's right -- come to think of it, I haven't seen a red one before, but no, that's not the big deal. 

All these things are great, and all are firsts (or nearly firsts) that I've seen in this series.  But now it's time I unveiled why I think this pencil is such a big deal.  Here's a picture of my Bulgarian refugee, side by side with what is now the second largest Eagle Stop Gauge pencil in my collection:

From metal tip to the top of the ring, it measures 7 1/4" long.  The lead is a full 1/4" in diameter.   The barrel is 5/8" across.  This thing is an absolute monster.

Now that's a big freakin' deal.  

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