I’d never heard of the Dow before last year, when an example bearing a patent date turned up and led me to write "The Real Housewives of Minneapolis" back on July 26, 2012. I was so excited that Michael Little had an example during our swap-a-thon that I included it in the picture of killer finds in my Ohio Show Report. Here’s a closer shot of it:
It has the familiar Dow logo and patent date on the cap, although like the other one, the imprint isn’t as clear as I’d like:
This one’s a little bigger than the other example, and even better, it’s a checking pencil!
But even though this was one of my favorite finds from the Ohio Show, I haven’t written about it yet because that’s about all I had to say about it: different color, a little bigger and checking lead. Since I didn’t really have much more to add to what I’d already written, I decided to wait until I found something like . . . well, like this:
Now there’s something to write home about – a boxed example complete with price tag. The box has a great logo on it that’s still mostly complete:
"Dow The Universal Pencil." This one is a little bit classier than its enameled brethren, sporting a nicely chased barrel:
The imprint on this one is as crisp as it can be. The price tag identifies the pencil as "sterling":
But obviously, the clip isn’t any such thing. It may be NOS, but that doesn’t mean the cheaply plated steel hasn’t had time to corrode a bit:
And while the name engraved on the barrel is quintessential Minnesotan – B. Eriksson – the fact that there’s brass in that there engravin’ indicates that if it’s sterling anything, it’s sterling plated:
With the pencil disassembled, you can see just how original it is. Since the mechanism protrudes from the top of the pencil when there’s lead inside, it looks like this one sat full of lead for most of its life. I haven’t cleaned the discoloration from it:
But what really got me excited about this example, and had me outbidding my competitors by a blue mile in the online auction, was the paperwork that accompanied this piece:
In the upper left hand corner, the top of the illustrated pencil is marked "Patent Pending," suggesting earlier examples had an exposed eraser:
And the bottom right, in a section titled "Advantages of the Dow Pencil," there’s an indication that they were also produced with "non-metallic" barrels. Hard rubber, perhaps? Or maybe celluloid?
The logo on the paperwork appears to show a Dow with a hard rubber barrel and no end cap:
"The Pencil For Everybody." While that may no longer be true, but it is still certainly the pencil for me!