Thursday, October 25, 2012

Do Two Centuries Make a Bicentennial?

One of the pencils Joe Nemecek brought with him to DC for me to photograph was this one. That was our deal when he called dibs in the online auction: he gets the pencil, I get to photograph it:

Joe’s pencil is stamped "Century Pen Company Whitewater Wis." on the side:

As I’d mentioned earlier here ("Auction of The Century," November 21), the history of the Century Pen Company and its relationship to Parker is somewhat shadowy. The one thing I was relatively sure of was that Century must have closed sometime in the 1920s.

Or did they? Here’s a pencil that popped up in an online auction a few months ago:

The streamlined profile, the snakeskin plastic, the clip – all these elements scream late 1930s or early 1940s, and if it weren’t for the imprint, I’d swear this one was an Eagle or Epenco:

But here’s the imprint:

I’d think it possible that the name "Century" might have been appropriated by someone else, were it not used in conjunction with the Whitewater address. Looks like Century was still in business much later than I had previously thought.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Seeing that later pencil then begs the question, where are all/some/any of the pencils they made in 'missing' 20 plus years? I wonder if they had to shut down for some reason. Financial or personal issues, or even something going on in the country. Say the Great Depression for instance.

Do you know anything about the owner/president of the company?