Friday, April 20, 2018

The Best Lead I've Had Yet

It was 2014 when I wrote about these pencils (

The entire center portion of the barrel is a slide that moves up and down to advance and retract the lead.  In the years since, I found another one at an antique show:

The slider is covered with a leather-like coating, commemorating the opening of the new Masonic Home in Danville, Ohio in 1928

Unfortuantely, the Masonic example, like the two I had written about earlier, bore no indication regarding who might have manufactured or produced it. 

Then last November, I had the opportunity at the Ohio Show to purchase a large collection of pencils, and as I looked through them, this one really caught my attention:

Finally, here was an example with what appears to be a manufacturer’s imprint:

“Green Duck / Chicago.”  It didn’t take long to find out what that meant, and it proves to be the best lead I’ve had to date.

The Green Duck Button Company was founded in 1906, and quickly built a reputation around the manufacture of giveaway novelties, such as badges and buttons.  For the 1933 Chicago Worlds’ Fair, the company also made fantastic art deco souvenir spoons. 

If the Masonic Home example of this pencil hadn’t surfaced, I’d still be inclined to think this new example might be a Green Duck advertising pencil, made by someone else for the company. The quality of construction and the novel means of propelling the lead seemed a bit beyond a button company’s capabilities or aspirations.  But then again - it is a simple slider, and assuming Green Duck was making quality items like the Worlds Fair souvenir spoons, there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t have the ability to turn out pencils as nice as these had they been inclined to do so.

At least it’s the best lead I’ve had so far.

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