Thursday, January 14, 2016

Getting to the Points

No discussion of Autopoint ephemera is complete without talking about the pocketknives the company made, and I’ve picked up a few to show you.  The first is a boxcutter-style slider knife:

These come in a wide selection of colors, and the blades are a little scary:

The imprint is inconspicuously located on the end:

The “one hand operation” knife was advertised frequently in The Rotarian, including this one from November, 1948:

There’s the top part of the thermometer/hygrometer desk piece, by the way.  And note that the pencil, which collectors call the “Rocket clip” version, is described as having a “rocker-action clip.”  Did “rocker-action” somehow morph into “rocket” in our collector’s lore?  Another story, another day . . .
The rounded barrel version replaced a flatter knife using the same mechanism, with blades by “GITS.”  Here’s one, again from The Rotarian, advertised in June, 1936:

These slider knives don’t seem to turn up all that often, maybe because the imprints are hard enough to see that they aren’t indexed properly in online auctions.

But these, from what I can tell, never turn up:

I’m venturing well outside my lane of expertise when I say this, but I do keep one eye open for Autopoint knives, first for my dad and then on my own account, and this is the only one like this I’ve ever seen.  I bought it on blind faith – the seller in an online auction said it was an Autopoint knife, and the only reason I believed them is the color of that celluloid:

Nice braiding around the edge, too - another detail not seen in the auction photos.  In researching this, I’ve run across some discussions in the knife collecting community about this celluloid, which they jokingly refer to as “MOTS,” a take off on the acronym for mother of pearl, MOP.  MOTS is short for “Mother of Toilet Seat,” because the color reminded someone in that set of a decorative toilet seat.  For whatever reason, the nickname stuck.

It probably wouldn’t stick in the pen and pencil community, because so many of the decorative celluloids used in the golden age might fit that description, and none of us wants to run around thinking we’re collecting toilet seats.  I digress. . .

Examining the knife closely for confirmation that it is an Autopoint, I found no markings on the case, other than that decorative work around the edge.  The knife blades fold out like the wings of a ladybug, and there were no markings on the tangs of either blade, either (the one blade is a nice, fat nail file) . . .

And then I saw it, plain as day.  Not on the case, not on the tang – on the blade itself:


Anonymous said...

Hi Jon,

Sorry to bother. please check your pensofamerica email.
Thank you

Jon Veley said...

Hello, no bother at all.

My PCA email address ( forwards to my regular email address, and I don't know what message I should have responded to and didn't. Please send me an email at so I know what I'm missing!