Sunday, October 9, 2016

"SB" is for Salz Brothers

After you collect for a few years, you become encrusted with knowledge that you assume others have, too, and that best explains why there’s a gap between old collectors and new.  Those who have come to know an answer after working their way from step one all the way to step ten rarely take the time to go back and explain those intermediate steps to the person just starting out.

Take this one . . . the “Favorite”:

Of course, one way to catch up on the collective knowledge others have been pulling together is to read books others have written.  On page 80 of The Catalogue of American Mechanical Pencils, for example, the Favorite is listed – with a cross reference to Salz Brothers, where, on page 134, you’ll find an example of the “Favorite” which is identical to the Salz “Peter Pan”:

That association is why, when the Favorite jumped out of a junk box at the DC show, I already knew it was a Salz product.

And that is why I knew something else:

Whenever you see that “SB” in a wreath or a circle, that’s a reference to “Salz Brothers.”  Without a little bit of background knowledge, there’s no reason why you might know that.

There’s two reasons that I’m telling you this.  One, the altruistic one, is my desire to document and educate, since that brings me closer to like-minded people with similar interests, some of whom I now know and some of whom I haven’t met yet – heck, you might be reading this article many years after I’ve thrown it out onto the internet, and years before you even started collecting.

The other reason is a bit selfish, I’ll admit: I want to learn more, too.  During my time as Editor of The Pennant, I once wrote a piece for the “From the Editor” page in which I explained how the information highway is a two-lane affair with incoming and outgoing lanes.  When I tell you what “SB” means when you find it on a pencil (the outgoing lane from my perspective), I hope you’ll tell me about a Salz model I didn’t know about.

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