Yesterday, I was trying to pinpoint when the ball-clip Tri-points might have been made. There was one more example of these in the bunch which answers these questions:
But the real secret is in these curious inlays on the side of the barrel, which look like something a six year old would proudly show his mother and say "look what I made!"
That's "EBN" for Edgar B. Nichols, by the way. And these inlays are what tell us when this pencil was probably made.
Edgar Nichols didn't just invent pencils - he was also interested in perfecting manufacturing processes. In 1937 or so, he started experimenting with inlaying techniques, and on May 1, 1937, he applied for a patent for an inlaying technique, which was granted on July 1, 1941:
But this was for a different kind of inlay, a rectangular runner in which you could put initials or other items (notice how he put "EBN" in figure 1?). But look at Figure 9 - one of the alternate means of attaching his cartouche was with a waffle-pattern material that would be pressed into the plastic. Looks like the material on today's pencil, doesn't it?
Nichols wasn't done. On November 22, 1941, he applied for a second patent for an inlaying process, and the patent was granted on April 17, 1945 as number 2,374,034:
Today's pencil fits in between Nichols 1937 and 1941 patent applications, after he had perfected inlaying a rectangular cartouche and using materials that he had on hand from his 1937 invention. But he hadn't figured out the enameling part yet.