This next group of Nichols Tri-Points look more like the ones I've been familiar with:
Note that the buttons are larger and have more detail, and the bottom of the channels has a hook at the end, so the slider locks more securely into place:
The clips have the hyphenated "Tri-Point" imprint, but note that theres a round ball on the end:
Best of all to me is that one of them has been personalized. Now I understand that personalizations are pooh-poohed by a large section of the collecting community, and I also get that a large, poorly done imprint can significantly detract from the appearance of a pencil. But sometimes -- like finding a former president's name on a pencil -- imprints add something rather than detract from it. And in cases such as this:
the imprint helps a lot when you are trying to figure out when a pencil was made!
All three of these have the U.S. and Canadian imprints, which puts their dates of manufacture no earlier than 1932 (the Canadian patent number wasn't assigned until December, 1931); we know they were still being made, according to this imprint, in 1937. The buttons on the cap and the round ball show up in the 1944 patent drawings for Nichols' improved design, but the clip in the drawing may or may not be exact (it wasn't the clip being patented).
What we need are more clues . . . hmmm . . .