Monday, December 29, 2014

A Couple More Tumblers Click into Place

It’s been a little more than a year ( since conclusive proof surfaced that the Nupoint, Hi-Speed and Presto pencils all traced back to 1920s enterpreneur Samuel Kanner:

The plot thickens.

This one has been building for awhile. It started about a year or so ago, when I received an email from someone looking for information about the "Repeeto." When I asked for some pictures and he indicated that he was planning to list it for sale, it didn’t take long for us to come to terms. Here it is, on the top, shown next to a nearly identical Presto with a metal top button (most Prestos have color matched buttons):

That Presto I ran across recently, with a metal cap instead of a matching colored plastic one. The Repeeto is almost exactly a Presto, except rather than a button that fits inside the top assembly, this one had a much larger cap that slides up and down the outside of the top. It’s marked simply "Repeeto / Pat. 7/26."

And then within the last month or so, this one surfaced in an online auction:

Let’s start with the color. That color! The celluloid matches what you might find on an Eagle Magnum Pointer of the mid-1920s and . . . well, that’s about the only other place I’ve seen it. Then, there’s the mechanism – a repeater, just like the Presto and the Repeeto, with a giant cap just like the Repeeto. The only markings on this are "Standard" on the clip:

And "Standard / Pat. Pend." on the cap:

That "Standard" clip? Yeah, we’ve seen it before:

An identical "Standard" clip, the same tip, and same repeater mechanism appear on the Hi-Speed (this one’s missing the cap, but it had a button that fit down inside the top rather than over it). The "Standard" and "Hi-Speed" pencils have something else in common:

"Hi-Speed / Pat. Pend." Both these pencils predate the Repeeto and Presto lines.

We could stop here. I’m not going to.

A couple of years ago I wrote about an interesting Eclipse repeater pencil and concluded that the Eclipse was probably made pursuant to the same patent as the Kanner patent for the Presto (

I was kind of sure about that . . . the problems I had were that neither the cap nor the tip were right for a Presto. But look how it stacks up compared to the Standard and the Hi-Speed:

Same tips:

Same clip assembly:

And an oversized cap that slides down the outside of the top, just like the Standard and the Repeeto. And, like the Standard and the Hi-Speed:

The "Eclipse Self-Feeding" is also stamped "Pat. Pending."

Now I’m left with one definitive answer and several new questions. The answer, now conclusive, is that the Eclipse Self Feeding repeater pencil is an early version of the Presto, like the Standard and the Hi-Speed.

But the questions? My searches are only turning up my own articles at this point, but there has to be more out there. Were the "Standard" and "Hi-Speed" early trade names used by Samuel Kanner, or were they brand names for pencils Kanner made (or had made) for someone else?

Confirmation that the Eclipse Self-Feeding pencil belongs with these adds a whole other level to this. What was the relationship between Kanner and Eclipse? Both were from New York. Did one copy the other? I doubt it – there’s too much special tooling here for so few surviving examples, so it seems more likely that one supplied the other. Kanner held the patent rights, but did he have the manufacturing capability to make writing instruments?

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