When I started this blog, the day after the end of the Ohio Pen Show last year, I set out with the goal in mind to write an article daily for a year and see how things stood at the end of it. One well-wisher commented that he hoped I could find enough material to write about.
Obviously, finding stuff to write about hasn’t been a problem. In fact, every time I dip my toes into the infinite pool of pencil history I usually end up doing a cannonball. Here’s just part of the pencils I’ve got waiting to be photographed and given their due here:
Time has come for me to take a break. I’ve got a few projects in the works that I’m just not able to get to while I’m doing a daily blog. My first order of business is to finish compiling this blog into book form so that it’s more handy, with an index and a table of references to The Catalogue. Then I’ve got a couple other books in the works and, of course, career and family (Janet, whom I’ve described in the dedication to The Catalogue as "the most patient woman alive," has certainly lived up to her reputation).
While I’m getting caught back up with life, if you’re just now peering in and wondering what this is all about, here’s a couple of top-ten lists to help you navigate the highlights:
Putting together a top ten of the most popular articles list is kind of unfair, since the articles that haven’t been around as long obviously haven’t been viewed as much. However, according to Google’s counter, as of today, here’s the ones that have had the most hits:
1. The Grim Reaper’s Own Pencil (Hampden - February 8)
2. Repair Tutorial: Sheaffer Middle Joint Pencils (Repair/restoration - February 7)
3. I’m Pretty Sure I Know What This Is . . . (Houk - May 14)
4. The Pen That Finally Fits In (Parker - May 15)
5. I Won’t Get Lost In The Woods With This One (Biltwell- March 6)
6. Leadhead’s Tread: Baltimore 2012 Show Report (Show Reports - March 5)
7. Will The Gentleman From Bulgaria Please Stand (Eagle - May 16)
8. This Eversharp Has Me Stumped (Eversharp - July 19)
9. No Price Sticker, But Something Better (Eversharp - January 27)
10. My Forehead’s A Bit Flatter After This One (Pen-N-Pencil - January 24)
And in case you’re wondering what I think are the ten "must-read" articles (or series of articles) that presented new information I haven’t seen anywhere else, here’s the ones I recommend:
10. The Personal Collection of Edgar B. Nichols, Inventor of the Tripoint (June 11 - June 17), in which I introduce the inventor’s personal collection, includiing what appear to be several prototypes and shop pieces.
9. The anonymous collection auctioned by Tanya Hile (October 8 - October 17). I’ve never seen so many pencils I’ve never heard of surface at once.
8. Walpuski’s "Ordinary Form of Pencil" (March 19), in which a pencil I thought was just an artist’s rendering 140 years ago is actually found to exist.
7. Early Eagle Patents tracked down during "Eagle Week" (February 13 - February 18).
6. Now You Can Call Them By Name (June 8), in which the maker of a very common pencil is found to be Lipic of St. Louis.
5. An Even Greater Public Service (September 5, with follow up articles on September 6 and September 7), in which the patent behind the mysterious "PATO" clips is revealed.
4. The Only Thing I Accomplished That Day (June 19), where the inventor of the "Roller Rule" is finally revealed.
3. Auto-Confusing, More Like (January 30), establishing that the "Auto-Sharp" was likely Diamond Point’s first pencil.
2. One Wild Goose Chase (November 1), revealing the true manufacturer of the Selfeed
1. My Find Of The Year (December 31), establishing that Eversharp appropriated the design for its repeating pencil from the Gilfred Corporation.
It’s been one heckuva year, and I have more people to thank for it than I can count. Most of them were at the Ohio Show and were pictured yesterday, but there were a couple people who didn’t make it to Ohio who I wanted to introduce and thank for their help. Here’s Matt McColm:
Richard Fernandez, holding something that is definitely not a pencil (I can hear it now: "no really ... some of my best friends are pencil collectors"):
Roger Wooten also deserves special mention, but I don't have his picture.
I’ll see you soon with plenty more stories. Until then, happy hunting!