Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Now That We've Got The Name

Back on September 21, when I was talking about Rite-Rite "Torpedo" Pencils, I’d included an image of the Rite-Rite trademark. I’ve got a confession to make about that: I never would have found it without a little help from Syd Saperstein, aka "The Wahlnut" on Fountain Pen Network. I’d posted those pictures over on FPN, and Syd casually mentioned, just in case I didn’t know, that Rite-Rite was established by Hyman Golber.

Once I had an unusual name like Hyman Golber to hook up with the search term "Rite-Rite," it was as if the clouds parted. Finding that trademark went from "wouldn’t that be nice to know" to "oh there it is" in a matter of seconds. And the trademark wasn’t the only thing I found!

Here’s a pencil I found some time ago:

This is an all wood pencil, with a removable nosecone similar to an Autopoint or a Dur-O-Lite, but working in reverse with the push rod inside the barrel:

Under very strong light, you can barely make out the Rite Rite logo impressed into the wood:

After I found that imprint, it was fairly easy to place this one. Here’s a picture of it next to the more refined version that was pictured on page 127 of The Catalogue:

I had suggested that the construction of this pencil suggested a connection with Charles Keeran. I was wrong. Check out patent number 1,496,158:

Hyman E. Golber himself applied for a patent for this design on September 15, 1921, and the patent was issued on June 3, 1924. This is significant in two respects: first, Golber wasn’t just a guy in a suit setting up a company to market someone else’s idea – he was the idea man, too.

Second, and more significantly from my perspective, is the timing of this patent application. The American Stationer reported that "a new pencil, the Rite-Rite . . . has made its appearance in Chicago" on November 4, 1922:

Golber filed his trademark application for "Rite-Rite" on June 23, 1922. His patent application was filed only nine months earlier, and Rite-Rite’s first pencil was introduced just a few months later.

This is the original Rite-Rite.

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