When I saw this one in an online auction a few months ago, I wasn’t really sure what to think, other than "Huh. That’s different":
Such a tiny little pencil behind that enormous clip. In fact, it’s a full sized roller clip, the same one used on the early Equipoised pencils. Here’s it is next to an Equipoised:
But mostly, what I thought it resembled was one of the Equipoised "purse pencils" as shown in Wahl’s 1931 catalog. Here it is next to a purse pencil:
It’s just slightly bigger, but it uses the same mechanism. The parts aren’t interchangeable, since the clip location on the purse and clasp pencils have a clip inserted through a slit in the top and secured by a screw, right where the seal is on this one.
Purse pencils, unlike the supposedly manlier "clasp pencils," were differentiated only by the colors used and the middle band (see "Man on a Mission, June 29). Black and pearl was one of the manly clasp pencil colors, but this one:
sports a purse pencil band - and like the pencil itself, notice that the band is just a little bit bigger (the machining is the same, with just a little wider border on either side).
And so, as I trotted off to the DC show, these few observations were all I had assembled in my head. But of course, in DC I made two other observations:
These also came in black, and in ringtops! That’s the way it goes in collecting – the minute you pick up something and think to yourself "that’s the first one I’ve ever seen," a couple more poke their heads up and say "hey! What about us?"
Note that two of the three have drilled out seals, indicating that the warranty was voided when they were wholesaled as excess stock:
The ringtop was in a box of stuff Mike Bloom was seriously getting tired of looking at – he quoted me a price for the whole box before I’d even rooted around to see what was in it! The clip model turned up on Tim Pierson’s table during my end-of-show tour of his wares.