Friday, January 30, 2015

After Rex

(Note: this is the second installment in a series about the John Holland Gold Pen Company.)

During the mid-1920s, The John Holland Gold Pen Company offered pencils which were made by the Rex Manufacturing Company of Providence, Rhode Island. Sometime prior to 1930 or 1931, Holland quit buying from Rex and began to offer pencils of the company’s own unique design. Even though these were more cheaply made, they nevertheless had a distinctive look that makes them very easy to spot in a lineup.

I found a couple Holland sets at the Ohio Show this year – you heard right, the Leadhead picked up a couple nibby things to go along with the pencils! Here’s the earlier of the two:

The box looks to be earlier than the set itself. Maybe Holland was going for the retro look – this is more Victorian than deco – but if history is any guide, my bet is that Holland was using up older boxes:

Here’s the set itself:

These have a nice, solid feel to them, unlike what you would typically associate with later John Holland stuff. On the barrels is a nice imprint:

I ran into Jack Leone, veteran John Holland collector, at the show shortly after I bought my two sets. Jack said he’d never seen the box in which this second set is housed:

Unfortunately, the stamping of the company’s name didn’t hold up very well on the silver foil:

This set is made from a cheaper plastic commonly found on lower quality, "third tier" writing instruments:

Even so, Holland did add its own distinctive flair to them. Note the intricate center band, and the ribbed upper band above the clip on the pencil is a nice touch:

Apparently whoever was applying the imprints to the barrels on these didn’t compensate for cheaper, softer plastic. These imprints are deep!

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