Notice that the clip is secured with a bolt, kind of like what you’d see on a 1920s Autopoint or an Eversharp dollar pencil of the same era, but it’s a square-head bolt rather than hexagonal:
I’ve noticed three different clip styles on these early Dur-O-Lites: in addition to the bolted style, there’s one that looks a lot like Wahl’s clip and then an ordinary Z-clip. All three were used on similar models:
I believe these bolted-on clips were the earliest Dur-O-Lite used; Dur-O-Lite was founded after several of Autopoint’s executives, disgruntled by the Bakelite Corporation’s takeover of a controlling interest in the company, split off to form their own pencil company. The split happened in 1925, the year Bakelite muscled its way into the picture, so I had always assumed Dur-O-Lite was founded in that year. Thanks to this Dur-O-Lite “7-11" pencil, though, I now know that the company was founded the following year, in 1926:
This commemorative pencil is dated 1972, “our 46th year”:
Now think a minute about the imprint on this bolted-clip example:
“1927 Compliments . . .” That’s something you’d hand out before the beginning of 1927 as a New Year’s gift, not something you’d distribute once 1927 was well underway. Could this be a first year Dur-O-Lite, made during late 1926 in preparation for the coming year?
I think it is. Compare this one to the other examples with bolted-on clips I’ve managed to turn up:
Note that the tip is shorter than on any of the others, and at the other end there’s something else worthy of our attention:
Every other example of these that I’ve found has threading at the top end of the barrel: this is the only example of a Dur-O-Lite I’ve found on which the top end was secured only by friction (and, since this is the only one missing the top, that explains the addition of threads).
I note there are two styles of imprints found on these. The first is a logo with flourishes at either end of the word “Dur-O-Lite” – that’s what is found on the lower four examples in that group picture:
The imprints on the remaining two drop the flourishes, but add “Chicago USA” to the end:
I can’t draw any conclusions yet about the imprints. The flourished imprints do appear on some of the Wahl-style clip examples, particularly on the straight, exposed eraser ferrules . . . but since switching or replacing ferrules is a simple matter of unscrewing one and screwing on another, “junk box provenance” is all we have to go on. I can tell you that the simpler imprint is what is found on some obviously later models, so I believe that imprint was introduced later . . . perhaps they had a leftover run of a few thousand ferrules with the earlier imprints, which were mixed in with the newer ones during production to use them up.
Obviously, I have no idea what imprint the missing ferrule on my 1926 Dur-O-Lite would have had, but I’ll keep a sharper eye out now for Dur-O-Lites with a friction fit ferrule to be sure!
Note: an intact example surfaced shortly after this article was written. The story continues at http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2016/11/asked-and-answered.html.