Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It Pays to Chat

If all I did at Pen Shows was look at pencils, I’d be bored out of my mind.

Sure, that’s the biggest part of the fun, but when you get to talking with people, that’s the part that’s really interested. And if I hadn’t struck up a conversation with Don and Ellen Haupt while I was looking at the stuff on their table Sunday at the Philly Show, I never would have gotten to see the single coolest thing I saw the entire weekend.

As I was picking out a few pencils at Don’s table, Ellen noticed the theme to what interested me and asked if I was interested in seeing a really interesting pencil. It wasn’t for sale, she’d cautioned me . . .

Now there’s a jaw-dropper. For those familiar with the Waterman "tree trunk" pencils, this one appears to have been made by the same hands:

Ellen explained that she’d found it for $10 or something at an antique show or flea market, and how she’d had to fight Don off when he wanted to sell it, because she just liked it. She asked me what I thought it was, and I told her about the Waterman "tree trunk" pens but told her I didn’t think this was a Waterman. I had my suspicions about who made it, I explained, but I’d need to take it apart to be sure.

She said she hadn’t been able to get it working, so she said to go ahead. I began to unscrew the cap carefully – very carefully – until eventually it was free, and my suspicions were confirmed:

This is an Eversharp pencil with a modified cap! The Wahl imprint is at the top of the barrel, just where you would expect to find it, and notice that there is no tombstone-shaped cutout to accommodate the clip - unheard of in a full-sized Eversharp barrel:

The barrel is marked silver plated – that’s kind of strange to put that much effort into making a cap for a barrel that isn’t even sterling. The clip incorporated into the cap is a first generation Wahl clip, dating from 1917 to 1924; if it looks weird for an Eversharp clip, it’s because the clip has been riveted to the outside of the cap, then a lip was built up around it. The cap isn’t marked sterling, and in this photo it does look like it’s some sort of silver plate over base metal.

Over the course of the day, I showed Ellen’s pencil off to a few people to get their take on it. Andy Beliveau commented that Waterman tree trunk pens were made by a jeweler and not by an Waterman employee, so it isn’t outside of the realm of possibility that whoever made the tree trunk pens for Waterman might also have made a similar style of cap for Wahl, or privately for a customer who purchased a Wahl pencil and wanted something similar done.

All I know is I wish I could look this jeweler up and have him make another one of these for me!


David Nishimura said...

I wouldn't say "unheard of" when it comes to clipless full-length Eversharp pencils. Uncommon, to be sure, but I do have a few.

Jon Veley said...

I've never seen one. let's see some pictures!