Friday, August 26, 2016

Why You've Never Heard of the Eagle Ultramatic

When this boxload surfaced online, I had to bite.  The pencils didn’t look that great, but I’d never heard of the Eagle “Ultramatic”:

Inside were a complete dozen Eagles, two each of red, yellow, teal and blue, and four black ones:

The barrels are unmarked, but are decorated with neat lines on each facet:

The clips look very Scripto-like:

And under the caps, the works look very Scripto-like, as well:

Neat as they may look, they aren’t much good as pencils.  The plastic used has shrunk so tightly on all of these that all are forever stuck.   That may have a lot to do with why they never caught on.  I also wondered, given their similarity to Scripto pencils, whether the Atlanta firm might have put a stop to these pretty quickly.

The box had some other information on it which I thought might provide some answers:

1936 is quite a bit earlier than the transparent Scriptos of the 50s these reminded me of.  And there’s two patents listed.  The first, number 1,859,433, was applied for by Isador Chesler on October 18, 1930 and was issued on May 24, 1932 – and it applied to an eraser retainer not found on the “Ultramatic”:

The same day he applied for the patent for his eraser, Chesler also applied for a patent for a pencil, which looks like it might be for our pencil, and the drawings are about the most complicated I’ve ever seen for a pencil patent:

And yet, the damned things don’t work.  Go figure.

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