When these popped up in one lot online, I worked hard to convince myself these things are “pencils”:
They are chalk holders, but they operate on the same principle as most leadholders, with a front end that clamps down around a piece of — well, around a piece of anything. In this case, it’s chalk, so a teacher wouldn’t get that nasty white powder all over their fingers.
At least . . . most of the ones in the lot were. The two smallest ones were even better. The nose unscrews to reveal a collet that can secure one of the small drill bits inside:
Perfect size for drilling leads out of jammed up pencils, and there’s even a few larger bits I can use on checking leads and Victorians! Straight into the toolbox with these two –
The next three were different variations of the same chalk holder, in slightly different lengths. One has what’s left of what must have been a blue endpiece on it, but the other two I don’t think ever did - the open tops mean there’s no limit to the length of chalk they can accommodate. Also, the “Made in USA” imprints on the clips are a bit different on each (and there’s a wide range of condition here):
And then there’s that big beast at the bottom of that picture.
At the top end, four holes surround a little empty chamber:
And there’s a goofy trigger sticking out the side:
As I fiddled around with it, I pulled the lever down and heard a click . . . you don’t suppose:
“Strike Rite” on the clip suggests this is supposed to light something, and sure enough, with the cap unscrewed you can more clearly see a piece of wire that threads through the middle - with each click of the lever, a tiny spark emanates from the top of that wire.
These must have been popular with chemistry teachers, who neither had to muss up their fingers with chalk dust nor reach for a lighter to get a bunsen burner fired up!