From the looks of this slider pencil, it’s American and it dates to the 1840s. It’s nearly a dead ringer for pencils made by Rauch during that same time frame. The name, though, tells a differnet stroy:
It looks like “HENRV,” but I think that’s “Henry.” I was so sure that this was made in the New York area that I’ve scoured New York City directories from the 1830s and 1840s for someone by the last name of Henry. No luck.
There is a “Henry” of some pencil fame – Henry David Thoreau, author of Walden, dabbled in the wood pencil business. The time is right and the location in the northeastern United States is also right, but I doubt that Thoreau would have his first name stamped on pencils – let alone that he would have anything to do with the mechanical sort.
When I called Joe Nemecek to see what he knew, great minds were thinking alike. Joe was watching a pair of Henry pencils just like this one – one a little bigger, and one a little smaller – in an online auction, so we went in on the pair and I”ve brought one home.
Janet says two’s a coincidence, but three’s a collection . . . I guess between the two of us, Joe and I have a collection of these.