Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Last Two Nails

"Back to the Drawing Board" ( was the second article I wrote in an attempt to identify who made a pencil marked "Guild" and owned by my friend John Coleman:

In the first installment, I’d incorrectly concluded that John’s pencil was made by Mabie Todd & Co., due to a few examples conclusively traced to that manufacturer. In the second, I had learned about the Guild Products Corporation, which purchased products from many different manufacturers, including Mabie Todd but not necessarily exclusively. With the field open to any possibility, I concluded that John’s pencil was probably made by Conklin, based on the similarity of John’s pencil to some Conklins in my collection:

In this article, we can scratch the word "probably." Insert "definitely."

One of the reasons I had hedged my bet was that Iwasn’t aware that Conklin used vertical lettering on its clips. That reservation melted away when I found this example:

But the clincher – or rather clinchers – surfaced a few months ago, when a pair of Guild pencils just like John’s showed up simultaneously, in two separate online auctions by the same seller. Joe Nemecek and I talked; he liked one color better than the other, so since I wasn’t particular either way I chased the other one. We both prevailed, and when they arrived, any remaining trace of the evaporated. Here’s mine:

And here’s Joe’s (forgive the glare - I was still learning the ropes of shooting with a new camera at the Raleigh Show last June):

Thump. That’s the sound of the book slamming shut.

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