Monday, June 29, 2020

Panda Craps

(Originally scheduled to post May 15, 2018) 

Several years ago at the Springfield Extravaganza I found a boxed Dur-O-Lite, identified by a model name I hadn’t known of before:

The “7-11" pencil is a thin model with a deco-style clip, equipped with the same removable-nose mechanism the company had used since its formation in 1926, a vestige from its roots in Autopoint.

“7-11" refers to a “natural” roll of the dice in craps - an automatic winning roll of either a 7 or an 11.

Then along came the Panda Pencil Company, whose assets I purchased in 2014 when they sold their building.  Panda Pencil was a subsidiary of Dur-O-Lite, a fact the company kept a closely guarded secret while quietly supplying lead to many of Dur-O-Lite’s competitors, including without limitation Autopoint, Eversharp, Parker, Sheaffer and (possibly) Eberhard Faber.  

Along with millions of sticks of lead were a few other odds and ends, including a few pencils.  Some of them added a bit more to the 7-11 pencil story:

“Make a Game of Selling More in ‘64 / Give New 7-11 Pencils By Dur-O-Lite” these samples read, along with the dice motif on the tops:

The company had a great sense of humor.  These were also in Panda’s archives:

“Now More Than Ever People Appreciate Dur-O-Lite . . . The No. 1 Pencil” and “Confidentially, Haven’t You Hade Enough Cheap Ball Pens?” 

Now more than ever was 1972, the occasion of the company’s 46th Anniversary - in case you were wondering how I’ve known the company was formed in 1926 for all these years.  The ferrule on that one shows a Dur-O-Lite magnet attracting customers:

On the other is a somewhat creepy dude, encouraging you to “face” the fact that ball pens were going the way of the dodo:

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