Sunday, September 21, 2014

Oscar Tweeten Strikes Again

I’ll always have a soft spot for Oscar Tweeten’s bowling score pencils, since one of the first articles I wrote here was about them -- see

I was ecstatic at the Chicago Pen Show to find what appeared to be another example. Here it is, the shorter of the two:

Yet there was something a little bit different about this one - the top wasn’t knurled like the other Tweetens I’ve been able to find, but instead was smooth with vertical grooves:

With my loupe in hand, I examined the barrel more closely and found no markings at all. None on the barrel, anyway – there was a surprise on the clip:

"Taylor Made Pencil Co. / P.O. Box 2084 / South Bend, Ind." I found only one reference to this company, in a 1992 directory of trade names used. The directory indicated that the address was unknown, but that the name was used in connection with "Tweeten 630," the model name for Oscar Tweeten’s bowling pencil.   The absence of a patent number on this example suggests it was made after the patent rights expired; apparently later production of these pencils – or at least the clips – was outsourced, either to a subsidiary of the company or to a subscontractor.

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