Extra cool doohickies are a real weakness of mine, and this one has a whopper. That metal rod on the side of the barrel pulls out and, like an old window shade, reveals what’s inside:
Why the last few months of the 1938 calendar are on one side of 1940, and all of 1939 is on the other, I don’t know. Suffice to say it’s a fair bet this one was introduced in late 1938. And what’s on the other side?
Sales tips for Buick salesman - ah, old cars! Another specialty of mine! I love that last line: “Never kill a prospect . . .” one sure step on the road to being salesman of the year, for sure!
Yet as good looks, a nifty calendar and thoughts of a 1938 Buick already had me swooning, there’s one last detail that put me over the moon on this one:
Ooooh, I love me a good patent mystery, and this is a particularly good one, because this is definitely NOT a living, breathing example of Patent Number 97,956. That patent was awarded in 1869 for a fireplace stove. Could it be a design patent? Closer, but nope: that was for a belt buckle, granted in 1935. I played around for a bit, transposing numbers and such, but nothing was turning up.
And then I remembered . . . there’s a great book on patents out there. In fact, I wrote the damned thing. I turned to the “patents by description” section in American Writing Instrument Patents Volume 2: 1911-1945, looked up “calendar,” and found an entry for patent number 2,111,362, for a “calendar attachment (scroll)”:
Joseph S. Fisher of New York, New York applied for this patent on August 26, 1936, and it was issued on March 15, 1938. Am I sure this is the patent I was looking for? Dead sure. For starters, did you notice what’s written on the scroll in the drawings?
“CAL-AN-AD PENCIL.” And the clincher is in the text of the patent:
Probably in a rush to put the pencil into production before the patent was actually issued, the manufacturer chose to print the Serial Number for his application, number 97,356.
But wait. There’s one more detail here that’s interesting. It has to do with the clip in the drawings, which doesn’t look much like the one on my pencil:
It does, however, look a lot like the clip on the only other example of this I’ve seen. David Nishimura sent me these pictures about a year ago:
Although this one shows no connection to Joseph Fisher or the Cal-An-Ad Pencil Company, it does show a connection to something else: that clip is the same clip used by Tri-Pen - makers of the Triad. The calendar on David's example includes all of 1937, suggesting that his is was made at the end of 1936 -- a year or two before mine.
Wow. Cool looks, cool calendar, sweet Buick stuff, great patent mystery AND a lingering possibility of some connection to Triad?
Almost. Nearly three years ago now, I wrote an article about that clip. It was the subject of a design patent, not by Tri-Pen, but by Mabie Todd. (Death and Transfiguration Part Two: The Transfiguration of Triad), at http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2013/03/death-and-transfiguration-part-ii.html
The clip was found on a large, sterling pencil I ran across years ago, shown in this picture alongside a Mabie Todd and a couple of “lesser Triads”:
The top of the pencil was a hollow space, and the long slit along the side led me to believe it might be a Ross Memo sort of pencil, with an onboard roll of paper for writing notes:
Now I know it probably contained one of Joseph Fisher’s scrolling calendar attachments, and the probable maker of David’s pencil was not Tri-Pen, but Mabie Todd:
Whew . . . I need a drink of water.