Thursday, October 4, 2012


Old dogs quit chasing cars because they’ve learned they won’t know what to do if they catch it, and I’m kind of turning into an old dog when it comes to victorian pencils at a pen show. I know I can chase them all day long, but I know I’m probably not going to be able to afford one if I catch it.

But when this one rolled by at DC, I couldn’t help myself. I barked a few times and took off after it anyway:

There’s a bit of brassing on the high points of that repousse, and that jewel on top isn’t fooling anyone:

But these indicators told me that I was probably looking at an early Eagle, and on closer examination, that’s exactly what it proved to be:

Eagle was innovative not only for its designs, most of which were so reliable that the vast majority still work today, but also for its manufacturing processes, which allowed the company to produce pencils that had the look of higher quality pencils at a more reasonable cost. That’s why the brassing was a dead giveaway to me – nearly all the other companies that were producing pencils that looked like this made them from sterling, not plated brass.

When I got it home, I couldn’t wait to compare it to one like it that I had at home, and turns out I've got one that's an excellent companion to it:

That cable twist example is the one shown on page 45 of The Catalogue, and featured here on February 15. While my focus in that article was on the other pencil, these are noteworthy in their interesting mechanism. Pulling the back to extend the pencil doesn’t move the tip, but it does advance the lead forward, after which you can advance or retract the lead by turning the tip. Once you’ve got the lead where you want it, if you push the end in the lead will retract into the barrel, but the next time you pull out the back, it will advance the lead back to the same position.

Kind of a neat twist on the magic pencil concept!

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