Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Big H

I’ve got a couple reasons to circle back around to W.S. Hicks, the New York manufacturer about which I’ve written a few times.  As I was organizing around the museum, there were a couple of examples I haven’t shown you that I’ve been meaning to.  Here’s the first one:

The mechanism appears to be the Mabie 1853 patent, with a nose that advances by twisting the back half of the pencil, but this one is much later, which I know from the hallmark at the top of the pencil:

That big H, with a W above the crossbar and an S below it, is a Hicks mark I’m asked about frequently.  I can now tell you, with the assistance of American Writing Instrument Trademarks 1870-1953, that it is a great help in dating the pencil:

William S. Hicks’ Sons registered the mark in 1914, and in the application, Edward D. Hicks claimed that it was first used by the firm on November 1, 1912; so much as we like to refer to pencils such as this one as “Victorians,” it is Victorian in style only . . . that mark reveals that it was made after Victoria died in 1901, and in fact after her successor died, as well . . . “Georgian” woudl be a more historically accurate name for one like this.

The ringtop looks freakishly large on this one, which gives you some idea how small this one is:

Here it is shown alongside that massive multicolor Hicks/Cartier I wrote about last year (see

There was one other W.S. Hicks pencil that turned up while I was reorganizing things that I wanted to show you:

This one also has the post-1912 mark on it, which isn’t at all surprising on this one (the mechanism, we know, was patented in 1918 – see

What’s interesting about this one is the machine work that went into the barrel . . .  I can’t tell if this was pressed, stamped or acid etched.  I don’t think it’s machine chased or engraved:

1 comment:

David Nishimura said...

No question, it's line chased.