Monday, July 29, 2013

Good Thing I'm Crazy

Joe Nemecek thought I was out of my mind to chase this one:

Pretty rough, he thought. Yeah, he’s right, but it was the first time I’d seen an Eversharp checking pencil in black enamel. As an aside, I did finally track down a navy blue one a few months ago:

Note that some sometimes these second-generation checking pencils have the earlier flat clips, and sometimes they have the post-1924 clips:

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up a bit for a minute, because Eversharp checking pencils evolved on a different track than the other metal pencils Eversharp offered. As I wrote on page 59 of The Catalogue, Eversharp checking pencils came in two flavors.  The clipless 1921 model designated as the Eversharp 100 had a traditional Keeran mechanism with a larger plug welded onto the end of the pushrod to accommodate the larger lead.

After 1921, Eversharp redesignated checking pencils as the model 101, included a side clip and introduced a really unique and simple mechanism in which a slotted screw simply fit within an inner barrel, which when turned advanced the screw forward. Here’s the picture from page 75 showing the difference:

Now to get back to the black enameled example that just turned up, notice that it has the ribbed clip. Even in the 1928 Eversharp catalog, checking pencils are shown with the flat clip, so the ribbed clip would seem to date this one to 1928 or later.

But something other than the clip and the color caught my eye about this one –something that was evident only because this pencil is a little beat up. Notice what’s under that chipped enamel?

Aluminum. All of the other checking pencils I’ve seen were enameled over a brass barrel. And there was something else that looked a little funny about this one in the pictures I was looking at online:

The tip doesn’t match either the second generation (on the left) or first generation of Eversharp checking pencils. So I went back to the Eversharp catalogs in the PCA library to do a bit of comparison. The picture of a checking pencil in Eversharp catalogs from 1922 through 1928 shows a tip matching my yellow second generation pencil. Here’s the page from the 1928 catalog:

I don’t think the flat clip shown is artistic license – note that other side clip models shown on this page have the ribbed clip. Here’s a closeup of the clip and tip:

The page from the 1929 catalog showing these, also at the PCA’s online library isn’t as high quality:

But even from this scan, you can see that for 1929, checking pencils are shown with ribbed clips and – whaddaya know – that same tip found on my black enameled example:

These differences alone were enough for me to chase after this tired little pencil, chips to the enamel and all. When it arrived, I was pleased to find that while the paint was chipped, there are no dents in the metal – and there were a few more surprises. The first came when I posed the new one between first and second generation checking pencils:

Look at how much shorter that is! Also, the crown is a little shorter than the typical second generation checking pencil:

And then there’s the imprint. While the second generation checking pencils were stamped "Wahl Eversharp / Made in U.S.A. Pat. Pend.":

This one is stamped simply "Wahl Eversharp / Made in Chicago U.S.A.":

So what mechanism do you suppose is inside this one? Is it the first generation mechanism or the second?

Neither. Eversharp simply adapted its regular post-1924 Eversharp mechanism, fitting it with a larger pushrod instead of crudely welding a plug onto the end of a standard pushrod. It’s what Eversharp probably should have done in the first place!

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