Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Not Your Garden Variety Scripto

A couple years ago, I bought this one from Michael Little . . . and promptly misplaced it, lost in a sea of ordinary metal Scripto pencils:

Ever since, I’ve been afraid to part with any metal Scripto, because I knew it probably had to be in there . . . somewhere.  I was relieved when I reorganized things around the museum a few weeks ago to see it turn up.

It’s got the same Scripto metal hexagonal barrel, and the same faceted accommodation clip you’ll see on a Scripto, but the clip doesn’t say Scripto:

“G-M Inc.”  And the top section, where you’ll normally find the familiar Scripto imprint?

“Rite-Ezee / Gettier-Montanye, Inc. / Baltimore MD”

Gettier-Montanye is a specialty advertising company, like Brown & Bigelow and Alexander.  The company is still in business, although it doesn’t offer writing instruments anymore, claiming a founding date of 1922 on its website.

What is somewhat interesting for an ordinary specialty advertising firm is the adoption of a model name for a writing instrument: Rite-Ezee – but we know that’s exactly what they did, thanks to a great new book on the subject, American Writing Instrument Trademarks 1870-1953 (shameless plug ... the book is available at http://www.legendaryleadcompany.com/store/c2/Books_by_Jonathan_Veley.html):

United States Trademark number 343,631 was applied for on October 17, 1936 and registered on February 23, 1937.

Carlyle N. Montanye, the company’s president, claimed that the name was first used on or about June 1, 1935.  We know Montanye’s first name was Carlyle because he spelled his name out when he refiled the Rite-Ezee trademark after the Lanham Act of 1946, as number 515,370.

In the case of this Scripto-made pencil, it was easy to associate Rite-Ezee with Gettier-Montanye . . . but that isn’t always the case.  After I started this article, I scoped around online and found this one:

Unlike the Scripto-made example, this doesn’t have the Gettier-Montanye name on it – just “Rite-Ezee” on the clip:

I’ve always associated pencils like these, with shorter lower barrels and longer upper barrels, with the Joseph Lipic Company of St. Louis.

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