Those words have served me well in life, not just in the practice of law but in a variety of situations, including the one that leads to today’s story. Were it not for that bit of wisdom, I would have seen an online auction listing for a "Dur-O-Matic" pencil and breezed right past it, assuming that the seller meant "Dur-O-Lite."
But I could hear the old lawyer’s voice in my head say, "Dur-O-What?" So I zoomed in closer for a second look, and by golly, that’s exactly what it said:
Inside that box was a mind condition example, complete with all the paperwork:
The pencil itself is in the same plastic I’ve also found on some of the "Eversharp style" Dur-O-Lites:
But unlike most Dur-O-Lites, this is a repeater pencil, actuated by the top button. The trim is chased with an attractive chevron pattern, and the clip appears to be older than other repeater style Dur-O-Lites. This looks to be classic art deco 1930s design:
Like the other Dur-O-Lite "Ejector" pencils, this one also features a screw-advanced eraser. Here’s the Dur-O-Matic shown next to a more commonly found Ejector:
Viewed more closely, the eraser assembly says "Dur-O-Matic Trademark":
Dur-O-Lite first registered this trademark on June 20, 1938 as Ser. No. 407,665. But then for some reason, the company re-registered the name on February 14, 1952 (registration number 572,608), and in that later registration, Dur-O-Lite claimed a date of first use of December 7, 1951.
The paperwork that came with this pencil is also interesting. Here’s the front and back:
The really interesting part is here:
Both "Trademark" and "Patent applied for." What makes the Dur-O-Lite Ejector pencils unique is that propel-repel eraser assembly, and I think that’s what "Patent applied for" refers to. John Lynn, one of the founders of Dur-O-Lite, was the inventor of this feature, for which he applied for his patent on June 15, 1938 and received patent number 2,293,993 on August 25, 1942:
That puts our Dur-O-Matic between 1938 and 1942.