Friday, February 23, 2018

How Many Tops?

Jerome Lobner had a Sheaffer Sharp Point up for sale recently, and I couldn’t resist for a number of reasons:

It’s one of the earliest Sheaffer pencils, with a straight sided clip mounting and an imprint which mimicks the Winchester spiky lettering:

Sheaffer later added ears to the sides of the clip mounting for greater stability, leading to the nickname “bowler clip” for the similarity to a bowler hat.  Here’s the new addition shown next to a Sheaffer Sharp Point with the bowler clip:

And a comparison of the two shows you the other reason I was interested in Jerome’s pencil:

See that top?  There’s absolutely no engraving at all on the crown of my new Sharp Point.  Of course, by the time the design patent for the Sharp Point was applied for, in April of 1919, the crown top had been replaced by the familiar Sheaffer bell top:

So how many styles of caps were there for the Sharp Point?  Well, including the new addition, there’s four that I know of . . .

Here’s my three straight clip Sharp Points.  The top example is the one that cracked that helped crack the case of David LaFrance’s involvement in the development of the Sharp Point (see the “Wahl, Sheaffer and the Race for Boston Series,” in particular the third installment at 

The example on the bottom, with Sheaffer’s later bell cap, came from Brian McQueen after the article ran in the Pennant.  At the time I bought it, I thought the cap was a bit of an anachronism, since the Sharp Point still had crown tops when the bowler clip was introduced.  I didn’t care, because I was just happy to find a straight clip Sharp Point – the cap might have been replaced, but even if it was, it’s an early bell cap with no Sheaffer imprint, correct for a Sharp Point.

So there’s three early Sharp Points and three different cap treatments:

The usual variety, a smooth variety, and a bell top.  Add in the more Eversharpy crown tops seen on most bowler clip models, and that makes four. 

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