Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Fascinating Suggestion

When this one popped up online, I questioned whether I know too much about this stuff or nothing at all:

The pencil itself is easy to identify – it’s identical to the “Modern,” made by the Hoge Manufacturing Company, makers of the ubiquitous “Pal” line of pencils (not to be confused with A.A. Waterman’s “Modern Pen Company” – for that full story, see Volume 2, page 159-161).

What’s curious is the price band: Redipoint Ingersoll, model 210E.

The band is easy to date with some precision, given the history of the Redipoint brand.  In 1922, Brown and Bigelow associated with William H. Ingersoll, recently
out of a job after the failure of the Ingersoll Watch Company.  Shortly after, The Ingersoll Redipoint Company was organized, and Redipoints were offered under this label until January, 1926, when Herbert Bigelow reacquired the brand after his release from federal prison (for more on that story, see Volume 4, page 335). 

Redipoint price bands aren’t adhered to the barrel, so I suppose a random Ingersoll Redipoint band could have been swapped over to a Hoge “Modern” if some unscrupulous seller wanted to enhance the value of an otherwise ordinary pencil – but I don’t think that’s what happened.  First, I gently moved the band down a bit and noted decades of grime built up around it - if this band was added to an unrelated pencil, it was added a good long while ago.

Then there’s a curious detail concerning the pencil itself.  While every other example of the Modern I’ve seen has this same imprint:

My Redipoint-banded example lacks any markings whatsoever:

Finally, while I have several Redipoints with price bands, none are identified as model 210E.

Something clicked in my head.  The accommodation clips found on the Hoge Modern are just like what you’ll find on early Redipoint pencils . . . and I’ve never been able to pinpoint who made those early examples (although I’ve always doubted a calendar and advertising specialty company would have done so on its own – at least, at first). 

Does this example suggest that the Hoge Manufacturing Company made those first Redipoints for Brown and Bigelow, and after the Redipoint became a hit, Ingersoll Redipoint acquired its former supplier and sold remaining Hoge stock under the Redipoint name? 

It’s thin, but I’ve seen thinner. 

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