Thursday, September 15, 2016

Three Interesting Hollands

Among my stash of Victorian pencils were these three John Holland pencils:

The combo at the top strongly resembles the Hicks patented mechanism of 1864, right down to the wood handle (see “Like a Ninja” at – but this one has an even more unusual patent date:

August 8, 1876.  Note that number 4 at the right in this picture, which denominates the size of the nib with which this was intended to be fitted – and in fact, this one does have a Holland Number 4 nib:

The patent date reference is to patent number 180,715, issued to John Holland himself:

It’s interesting how similar the Holland design is to the Hicks patent, which might explain a bit about why I haven’t seen one of these before – absent some sort of cooperation between the two companies, a patent infringement claim might well have nipped Holland’s 1876 patent in the bud.

As for that smaller number at the bottom of the opening picture, it’s a conventional pencil design which appears to utilize Mabie’s October 3, 1854 patented mechanism, but absent any imprint other than “Jno. Holland,” I’m left to conclude that this was made by Holland after the expiration of Mabie’s patent.

As for the larger Holland in the middle, when I got to digging into that one, a fascinating little side story emerged.  I’ll tell you about that one tomorrow . . .

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