Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Why a Bird in the Hand Is Better

I’ve had a couple of opportunities to handle and photograph Sheaffer Balance-era double ended pencils over the years - Pat Mohan and Mike Kirk were both very generous with their time in allowing me to photograph them (see and  Don’t get me wrong, but there’s a reason I’d rather have one back at Pencil Central for some serious comparing to other things in the museum - in a vacuum, photographed by themselves at shows, I wasn’t able to really tear things apart and see what makes them tick, and whether and how they tick differently than other things.

At this year’s Michigan Show, I jumped at the chance to pick this one up from Dan Reppert, partly because I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to spend some real quality time with one of these, and partly because . . . ok, I’ll admit it – because I really really frickin’ wanted one:

Mine sports blue and red bands – different from Mike’s and Pat’s, and especially nice for me since it matches my Craig double-ender:

Disassembled, I found that the Craig’s trim rings were held in place solely by virtue of being sandwiched between the pencil barrels and the center band; the Sheaffer bands were much better secured. Note also that the threads on the Sheaffer are less aggressive, although they are about the same gauge:

The example I picked up from Dan had the same diamond-shaped facets, different from the simple round Craig band:

But what I was most interested to see was how the Sheaffer double-ender compares with similar Sheaffer parts.  I compared it with a Sheaffer golf pencil and an oversized Balance pencil:

I had previously noted how the double-ender couldn’t have been made from two lower halves of golf pencils, simply joined by a plastic band: the imprints are on the barrels of the double-ender, while they are found on the caps of golf pencils.  Besides, the barrels were longer on the double-enders.  What this picture shows is that in addition to those differences, the threads on a golf pencil are much finer than what you’ll find on a double ender.  And a side-by-side comparison to the oversized Balance pencil at the top of this picture shows that the tip and the diameter are nowhere near as large as what you’ll find on a double-ender.

For whatever reason, Sheaffer put together these double-ended pencil from unique parts specially made for the occasion.

1 comment:

Matt said...

How does the double ender compare with the pencil on a combo?