Monday, April 2, 2018

In Search of the Presto's Final Resting Place

I bought a collection from a guy who emailed me out of the blue a couple of years ago.  After swapping a couple of pictures, everything looked promising – I would have been much more leery of this kind of deal if he hadn’t volunteered to send me the whole collection on approval.

I approved.

A lot of what was in there were things that just sort of filled in some gaps in my collection - mostly upgrades of things I had in lesser condition, or minor variations such as a different color in a series . . . stuff that makes me smile, but doesn’t really make for much of a blog article.  Nearly everything I kept slipped quietly into my collection.

Still, there were a couple of surprises:


This one is marked “Everlast.”


What’s unusual is that this one, unlike all of the crappy nose-drive Everlasts you’ll find out there, is a repeating pencil.  From all outward appearances, it isn’t just any repeating pencil – it looks a lot like a Gilfred.

Samuel Kanner’s exploits have been an ongoing theme here at the blog.  He started with his Nupoint brand, then using Abraham Pollak’s patent for a repeater, went on to make the Nupoint Repeater, followed sometime around 1925-6 by the Presto, first in the same metal incarnation and then in those oversized bakelite models that are just too cool.

Later on, the Presto took on a more slender, decidedly cheaper incarnation as the “Everfeed,” although the Everfeed typically had a sterling clip stapled into that cheap plastic.  There were similar pencils marked “Nasco,” “Whitlock” and, as the title of this article suggests, the “Gilfred,” which unlocked for me the secret that the Gilfred Corporation made all of these later incarnations of the brand (Kanner’s association at that point remains unclear), and that Gilfred unsuccessfully sued Eversharp for infringement of the Pollak patent, which Eversharp appropriated for all of its repeating pencils from the late 1930s on (see “My Find of the Year” way back in 2011 at https://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-find-of-year.html - the images were wiped out but the story is still there).


I reposted this picture last September showing, from top, a later Presto, a Gilfred, an Everfeed and an Eversharp Doric repeater (“Presto Footnote Number One” at https://leadheadpencils.blogspot.com/2017/09/presto-footnote-number-one.html). 

This Everlast has some design cues taken from each of these - in particular, note how similar the trim band is to the Everfeed and Gilfred.  But that shorter nose . . . and what’s inside looks a little bit different:


In particular, that torpedo-shaped front end of the mechanism:


The Everlast name was the subject of two trademarks, found in American Writing Instrument Trademarks 1870-1953.  The earlier of the two, unfortunately, has not been preserved – all that remains is what was published in the Official Gazette, indicating that the name was in use beginning on September 2, 1933 by the Everlast Pen and Pencil Company of New York:


A second trademark, for a stylized logo, was filed for registration in 1947.  Since this one was preserved, we have considerably more information to go on here.  By this time, the company was known simply as Everlast Pen Corporation, and the President, Maurice J. Waldinger, said the company was located at 644 Broadway, New York.  Since the date of first use claimed for this second mark is the same date, I think it’s a fair assumption these were one and the same entity:


I didn’t find any newspaper advertisements for a repeating version of the Everlast - just standard twist mechanism pencils.  I widened my search to look for Everfeed pencils, and I learned something.  The common Everfeeds like the ones shown in the pictures above appear to have been made in the mid-1940s:


But when the “New Ever-feed repeating pencil” was introduced in 1940, it was fatter – and it had that same black nose and smaller tip:


Just like this odd Everlast repeater.

There’s a lot of research to do and much to learn about how all of these companies were related to each other.  Was the name “Everfeed” a tradename adopted by the Everlast Pen and Pencil Company?  No trademark was filed that I found, but the advertisements originated disproportionately from New York. 

Following up on the Waldinger lead, I found that a stationer by the name of the M.J. Waldinger Co. leased space at 48 West 47th Street, New York:


And just two years later, his creditors forced him into bankruptcy – including the Esterbrook Steel Pen Manufacturing Company, as reported in the December 29, 1922 edition of The New York Times:



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