Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Very Accommodating Listo

I ran across this one at the Philadelphia Pen Show last January:

I really liked that at the opposing ends of this double-ended pencil, there are little bands to help you keep track of which end has which color lead:

The name on the clip is also interesting.  “Listo” is a company best known for its grease pencils, which were a frequent sight in places like butcher shops, where pencils that can write on anythiing – even wax paper – are always in high demand.

But you’ll notice that the clip on this one is an “accommodation clip,” which just clamps around the barrel and is secured only by friction.  The name “accommodation” comes from the fact that they were introduced in the nineteenth century, back in the days when pens and pencils generally were not made with side clips.  When clips were first introduced, several companies began producing different styles of clamp-on clips such as these, which were either sold separately or were offered by pen dealers as an “accommodation” to those who wanted clips on the writing instruments they bought.

Listos were generally clipless numbers, even long after permanently affixed clips had become the norm.  The clip seen here is identical to the “Holyoke B” line of accommodation clips offered b y the Van Valkenberg Company (in this case, named for the company’s headquarters in Holyoke, Massachusetts).  Here’s a picture of them from Van Valkenberg’s 1931 catalog, from the PCA’s online library:

So why would a guy as persnickety as myself believe that my double-ender is a Listo?  After all, I never knew that Listo made double-ender pencils, and couldn’t someone just as likely slipped a clip from an ordinary grease pencil and stuck it on here?

Sure, it’s possible, but I think this is the real deal – because I also found this one on the same dealer’s table:

There’s no swapping this clip over from something else!

1 comment:

George Kovalenko said...

And here's what the original "Holyoke" clip looked like, or what might be called the "Holyoke A", to create a back-formation.

George Kovalenko.