Friday, July 14, 2017

The Hard Proof

(Note: this is the second part in a two part series.  If you’re lost and need to start at the beginning, see

Here’s a pair of pencils which turned up at the Chicago Show in May.

Before I show you what’s stamped on them, here they are compared to a ringtop pencil I’ve had in my collection for awhile:

All three pencils are stamped on the nose.  The one I’ve had looks like this:

“Mabie Magazine Pencil / Pat. June 7, 10.”  Mabie Magazine pencils are a fairly common sight, and they came in a broad range of materials and patterns.  It wasn’t really fair to show you a ringtop, which are unusual, since they are easy to spot in the side clip version with their patented January 19, 1915 Mabie Todd clips:

The June 7, 1910 patent date refers to patent number 960,588, which Egon L. Schmitz applied for on December 21, 1908 and which was assigned to . . . get ready for your daily dose of randomness . . . to the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company:

Now getting back to these two pencils that came my way in Chicago, you might have noticed that instead of a Mabie Todd patent clip, each sports a very Hutcheon-like clip.  With respect to the gold filled one, it is stamped as you would expect:

“Hutcheon Magazine Pencil / Pat. June 7, 1910.”

It also has the diamond-shaped Hutcheon trademark:

And what of that sterling example?  That one is a little more complicated:

“Sterling / Hallmark / Pat. May 31 & June 7, 1910"

Huh.  The clip looks Hutcheon, the June 7 patent date is a Faber patent shared by Mabie Todd and Hutcheon, but what’s up with that additional patent reference of May 31, 1910?

It refers to patent number 959,531, for a pencil nearly identical to the Schmitz patent, applied for six months later, on June 1, 1909, yet issued a week before the Schmitz patent.  The inventor was John A. Hollenberger of Hagerstown, Maryland.

I don’t have anything concrete yet concerning who might have made or produced the Hallmark magazine pencil.  “Hallmark” might well be a play on Hollenberger’s name, although “Hutcheon Hallmark” has a nice ring to it as well, and with the same clip there’s a strong suggestion that Hutcheon had something to do with it.

And the presence of nearly identical Mabie and Hutcheon Magazine pencils, both made under license from the same Eberhard Faber patent, does prove that Alfred Hutcheon’s relationship with Mabie Todd after 1913 was far more than just that of a former employee.

Update:  the Hallmark mystery is solved -- see

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