Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Why It's Called the "Treasure"

In The Catalogue, I (kind of) say that the Treasure was a Salz Brothers product.  I say “kind of” because if you look under Treasure, I say “see Salz;” unfortunately, if you look under Salz, there’s no mention of the Treasure.

Oops.  But that’s probably for the best, since the Treasure had nothing to do with Salz

Oops again.

At least the error isn’t much of a loss, since the Treasure was a fairly low-quality affair, diminuative pens and pencils intended more as novelties than something you’d write with on a regular basis.  I had an example which I photographed for The Catalogue, and recently I found a set which is identical, but with unmarked clips:

The “Treasure” logo is in a crude script, written kind of cockeyed across the top of the clip:

The reason I bought the unmarked set was because it came with a kind of neat box:

The pen and pencil are actually suspended from the top of the lid, which is marked “Treasure Chest” with a picture of a couple piratey looking characters:

Unlike the Salz “Favorite” and “Peter Pan” lines, the clip on the “Treasure” is squared off at the top end, and the barrel is made from a straight wrapped celluloid tube with an angled black plastic cap.  When I started writing this article, I was thinking these differences suggested that the Treasure was made by David Kahn, Inc. – makers of the Wearever and other brands – rather than Salz.   But then I took a break from the blog, during which I wrote American Writing Instrument Trademarks 1870-1953 . . .

Had I written the trademark book first, The Catalogue would have been a very different book in many respects, and this is another example.  David Kahn, Inc. filed two trademark registration applications on June 29, 1935, number 329,529 for the name “Treasure” . . .

. . . and number 329,530 for the same “Treasure Chest” script found on my boxed set.

But that’s not the rest of the story.  Remember those piratey dudes on the box lid?  Have a closer look:

That’s Clark Gable and Charles Laughton, dressed in costume for their starring roles in Mutiny on the Bounty, released – you guessed it – in 1935.  It won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year, and it was the first and only time three actors from the same film – Clark Gable, Charles Laughton and Franchot Tone – all received nominations for Best Actor.  It was because of this fluke that in 1936, the Academy Awards included a new award category: for Best Supporting Actor.

Mutiny on the Bounty was released on November 8, 1935, a little more than four months after Julius Kahn filed the Treasure and Treasure Chest trademark registration applications, so the plan to capitalize on what would become a real blockbuster of a film was planned and coordinated in advance of the film’s release, not a hasty attempt to capitalize on the film’s success after the fact.


Vance said...

Don't know who Richard Laughton might be or have been, but the actor's first name was Charles, as is plainly shown on the picture. And, interestingly, they are named in the picture in the opposite order of their appearance (in case anybody doesn't know what they looked like).

Jon Veley said...

I don't either . . . fixed.