Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Now That's Salesmanship

I’ve commented several times over the years how much the L.E. Waterman Company despised pencils and resisted making them as long as possible.  When they caved and began offering Gabriel Larsen’s patented pencils in the early 1923 . . . ish . . . the company made it clear that they were doing so only because the public demanded it, not because they wanted to (see “So Great the Vogue” at http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2016/11/so-great-vogue.html).

The Larsen mechanism was a simple thing- touted by Waterman as being so simple there’s nothing that can go wrong with them (made of only six parts, the company bragged).  That meant a simple pin mounted onto a crude threaded plug would push lead through the tip, which was tight enough to hold it in place by friction alone.  Without a reverse gear (which Sheaffer referred to as a propel-repel-expel mechanism), to back the lead up you had to turn the nose cone the other way and push the tip of the pencil onto the table or a finger to push it back in.

I received an email the other day from Jean-Marc Czaplinski, from France, who asked if I had ever heard of the Waterman “Rigid Point,” and attached a few pictures:

This one is marked with the typical Made in USA for export to Britain marks, including the filing of Larsen’s patent as Great Britain patent 226,746 (see http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2016/11/three-interesting-watermans-part-two.html).  The box lid reads “Waterman’s Pencil Rigid Point,” and the sheet that was with the box reads, “In order to secure a perfectly rigid point the Waterman pencil is made to propel only.”

What uncharacteristicly delightful hogwash from Waterman!  And thank you, Jean-Marc, for the note.

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