Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Methodically Collecting Eversharps

Catalogue readers, if you check on page 84, you'll see this picture of a "Gregg"pencil:

This example should look familiar: it's a clipless Wahl Eversharp Equipoised (but Wahl didn't make a clipless Equipoised), made from mottled hard rubber (but Wahl didn't make the Equipoised in hard rubber).

The Gregg logo is the only marking on this pencil; the Wahl name is completely absent.  Gregg Shorthand, devised by John Robert Gregg in the late 1800s, was widely used and franchised in the late 1920s and 1930s, and a pen which carried the Gregg logo supposedly also carried with it sufficient ink flow for a secretary adept in the method to take dictation without fear of the pen skipping. 

Of course, that doesn't make any sense when it comes to pencils, because a pencil will leave a graphite trail as quickly as you can move your hand!  In that respect, maybe this example makes a bit more sense:

Other than the clip, which is marked simply "Palmer Method," the only other markings on this one are "Made in USA" imprinted at the top of the barrel:

This pencil, too, should look familiar.  Check out page 64 of the Catalogue, smack dab in the middle of frame 12, for its twin:

Our Palmer Method pencil is also Wahl made, and taken from the company's "dollar pencil" line:

The Palmer Method of handwriting, very popular during the 1930s (in fact, A.N. Palmer's "The Palmer Method of Business Writing," one of the most popular of the writing lesson books, was released in 1935), focused on moving the entire hand to write rather than just the fingers.   At least that's something you can do equally well either with a pencil or a pen.

But those of us of the left-handed persuasion will also remember the more sinister (get the pun*?) side of the Palmer Method:  forcing all children to learn to write right handed.  See, the good folks behind the method believed, for whatever reason, that it was important for all children to write right-handed.  Fortunately, Palmer had long gone by the wayside before I began grade school, so I have only the tales told by elderly relatives of being smacked on the back of the hands with rulers for using the "wrong" hand to write!

So now, I take my revenge on their behalf some eighty years later.  I sometimes pick up my Palmer pencil, which seems to writes equally well with either hand, and scribble a few illegible lines in my left hand, with a wicked little smile on my face . . .

*The Latin word for "left" is sinister.  Incidentally, the Latin word for "right" is dexter, from which we get the word dexterity.

1 comment:

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