Before celluloid became the material of choice in the mid-1920s, if a pencil wasn’t all metal, it would generally have been sheathed in hard rubber, formulated using either Goodyear’s patent of May 6, 1851 or for a brief time, Austin G. Day’s patent of August 10, 1858 (see http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2016/09/that-third-interesting-holland.html). Nearly always, Nineteenth-century pencils in hard rubber were black; much less common and more desirable among collectors today is red hard rubber. “Mottled” (a mix of red and black, which had a woodgrain or swirled look) wouldn’t come until towards the end of the Nineteenth century.
What I had never seen before the Raliegh Pen Show was this:
Paul Erano had a little pile of Victorian parts, of which this blue hard rubber pencil was the star of the show. It was missing a nozzle and is still missing the front retainer, but . . . blue? The only other manufacturer I can think of offhand which ventured outside red, black or mottled was Eclipse, which turned out navy blue and grey hard rubber pencils . . . but not for another half a century, in the 1920s!
The all-metal pencil at the top is marked with the WL hallmark, signifying that it was made by William Ludden, the “red legged devil” of Civil War fame (see http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-red-legged-devil-or-is-it-devils.html):
The blue hard rubber example, though, is marked Ludden & Taylor:
Although the Luddens had a long career, their association with Taylor was extremely short-lived; in fact, the only reference I could find to the partnership was a notice of dissolution filed in 1879, when Ludden appeared to trade on his own up through 1878 (see http://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2015/12/the-long-way-around-barn.html). That dates this pencil with some precision to late 1878 or early 1879.
A blue hard rubber pencil would have stood out as much in a jeweler’s cabinet in 1878-1879 as it did on Paul’s table nearly a century and a half later. What amazes me is that if the color was produced at all, why it wasn’t produced in greater numbers?