Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Few Tricks from Monroe

“Trick” pencils . . . that’s the name by which I like to refer to pencils which, in addition to writing, do something else.  It’s like this pencil collecting business is two different hobbies for me: on the one hand, sometimes I’m exploring the history and showing off the artistry of some serious artifactsone is serious, delving into the history and art of (what I consider to be) some pretty valuable collectibles.

And then on the other, I get just as much a kick out of a lighter pencil, that goofy Golf-Meter pencil from the other day, an Apex “Magic Multiplier” pencil.   I could probably save myself a ton of money if I just went down the trick pencil rabbit hole and stayed there. 

I won’t.  I’m to omniverious when it come to this stuff.

One of my favorite trick pencil makers is Monroe – no affiliation with the Eclipse “uberbrand” with classic deco stepped-end deco styline and stepped-up price stickers, but Monroe as in these:


The company made the most of this format, and these are just the most recent versions which have turned up recently.  The top one is one of the coolest I’ve seen, the “Monroe Slide Rule Pencil Pat. Pend.,” which changes the numbers in the window with a turn of the cap:


I haven’t found the patent for this one.  It’s possible one was never issued.  The next one is one I spent some time hunting down for a reasonable price: the “Monroe Cocktail Pencil.”  Turning the cap reveals the ingredients for several adult beverages:


From one extreme to the other, here’s the “Way of Life” pencil.  Turning the cap takes you from “Hell Bound” to “Heaven Bound.” 


Last for now is just one of the many variations of measuring pencils.  These came tailored for a variety of applications, from lumber estimating, carpeting, paint . . . this one is for wallpaper:


And then there’s even more . . . have a look at these two:


If you look at the trim bands, they match what you’ll see on a Monroe exactly.  And they have a different trick: the perpetual calendar complication at the top end:


The clip rotates with the calendar to the correct day of the month, lining up with the numbers to make it even more clear which numbered days correspond to that day of the week.  Like the Monroe Slide Rule Pencil, this is also marked “Pat. Pend.,” and also like the Monroe, I haven’t found the patent. 

1 comment:

Terry Brack said...

I think these are very nifty. Do you understand how the slide rule actually works? Usually a slide rule adds or subtracts logarithmic lengths to achieve multiplication or division. It is not clear to me how this is accomplished by turning the inside scale.