Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Few Hollands of Note

The John Holland Gold Pen Company of Cincinnati, Ohio is a favorite of mine, and not just because it hails from my home state. During the company’s heyday in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century, Holland produced some of the finest and most interesting products out there, including several fascinating pencil designs.

Even though the company was well past its prime in the 1920s, John Holland having passed away and leaving the company to be mismanaged into oblivion by his children, there were a few twilight moments worth mentioning. Here are two of them:

These are in the Rex patent family of pencils (see The jade example is the type you normally see, with all the markings on the cap:

Those are the "four horsemen" patents I refer to so often. All of the examples along these lines that I have seen, nearly all of the ones I’ve seen have been in jade.

As for the orange one, that matching colored topper isn’t an eraser – it’s a celluloid disk permanently attached to the cap and in the Rex patent family, this feature is unique to John Holland. It took me years to come up with just one of these, perhaps in part because a friend of mine scooped up so many of the others:

Rex apparently made a custom batch of colors for Holland, or Holland bought the mechanisms and supplied their own barrels using materials on hand - I’ve not seen white or that fantastic robin’s egg blue on any other Rex. Note that a couple of these have shorter, one piece nose sections – those are the earliest ones, probably made around 1924. Mine is only slightly later:

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