Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Since I was on the subject of Autopoints yesterday, it seems like a good time for me to show you a few Autopoints that aren’t pencils.

Most folks have seen these - I remember my grandfather had one on his desk with all his real estate contacts in it:

The “Autopoint Index,” it was called.  You punch the button to get you in the vicinity of the alphabet you’re hunting for in your little black book, and the lid springs up to that spot.

It probably would have been more valuable if it had Marilyn Monroe’s little black book inside, but I thought having the original instruction card was kind of neat:

Autopoint also made ashtrays - my desk is starting to look like something out of “Mad Men.”

Pretty neat concept here, too – the bowl slides out for easy cleaning.  The underside indicates this was the Autopoint No. 313:

I would expect to see a design patent or maybe even a utility patent on this one; in the later part of his life, Charles Keeran patented a couple ashtray designs.  No such marking on this one, though.

There was, however, on my coolest piece of desktop paraphernalia:

This thing just oozes art deco - the window on the front indicates that it’s got a built-in thermometer and hygrometer:

Apparently it’s perpetually 62 degrees here, but at least the hygrometer works.  And speaking of perpetual, the calendar on the front has a neat feature:

The little knobs turn the inner dials for the numbers, while the bigger ones adjust the day and month.  On the back, this one did have a patent number – or most of one, anyway.

“Des. Pat. No. 125,09" it says . . . fortunately it was just the last number that was left off for whatever reason.  Design patent number 125,093, for a “combined calendar, thermometer and humidity indicator,” was applied for on November 27, 1940 by William B. Petzold, and was awarded on February 11, 1941:

I need a bigger desk.


Anonymous said...

Amazing..My grandfather had the same contact index book, I used to be boggled when you pushed a letter it would open to that part of the address book. Its funny what would amuse a young child. Thank you for the reminder of that memory. Kind Regards, Robert

Andy Denes said...

Petzold was granted a patent (127490)in 1941 for a "match folder case." I have an extensive collection of similar items, which I term matchbook holders. Autopoint produced these items, and I have 14 different examples. One has an advertisement including the date 1942, and 3 others include the date 1943. If anybody has seen any Autopoint literature (catalog, brochure, pricelist), please let me know, as I am trying to assemble more data on these items.