Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Tire Pencils

“Tire pencils” appear in the Eversharp section of The Catalogue, on page 71.  I only had four examples to show at the time I wrote the book, and over the ten years since, I’ve picked up a few more.  Not intentionally, really . . . they just sort of find their way to me, probably because of that soft spot I have for old cars.

Exhibit A is this one, which found its way here very recently, but I don’t remember how or why:

And since it was already here, I figured I’d compare it to the other ones I had laying about.  Yes, I have red ones and yes, I have Goodyear Tire ones:

Yet it did have a subtle difference from what I already had in my archive, so here it stays.  Since I’ve gone from just four to a couple dozen of these, I thought it was time to show you the different variations I’ve found on this theme.

Although there are no manufacturer’s markings on this Goodyear pencil, there’s no question it’s an Eversharp.  I originally knew this because some examples, the earliest I believe, have clips that are so marked . . . sometimes.

That’s the same clip found on those Chicago Worlds’ Fair Eversharp pencils I wrote about a couple years ago, so we know these were in production in 1933 (see

These come in a nice range of colors, and these models have imprints advertising a wide variety of tire companies - represented here are India Tires, Mohawk, Goodyear and “Stadler Products.”

OK, the nickname for these is “tire pencils,” but they weren’t all for tires. . . Stadler was an agricultural products firm, I believe.

Later models in the tire pencil series had a cream/white top disc, and they sported a flat, unmarked clip, identical to those used on Eversharp’s Four Square pencils (also called, over the years, the “4-in-1,” “Red Spot,” “Forty Niner,” or “Red Spot Forty Niner”– see 

In fact, as you might have noticed, the Four Square platform was also used to advertise tires: here’s another one, for Brunswick Tires, alongside that Goodyear:

In my little sampling of this generation of tire pencils, I’ve noticed a pattern: Goodyear examples were all in combinations of blue and yellow.  Note that some of these have some really great imprints, too:

I should have saved that Goodrich pencil for this next picture . . .

Orange is an unusual color on these, and while that one doesn’t advertise tires specifically, it does advertise a truck equipment firm.  Firestone was also a prominent customer for these.  Note the black end on this orange one:

This incarnation of the tire pencil also exist in unmarked, marbled pencils with those same white caps:

Unmarked, that is, except the Eversharp-marked eraser insert, typical on all Eversharp models during the era:

There were also products along these lines more prominently identified as Eversharps.  Here’s an orange Eversharp and a Monitor (Eversharp subbrand), in that same plastic found on those Eversharp/Autopoint hybrids:

And finally, there’s tire pencils without that white top.  I don’t know whether these came before, after or at the same time as the white disc ones:

The Deep Rock Petroleum Products pencils seem to be the most common in this model, and note the bottom example has the same clip as the "Air-Lite" and some half-Coronets from the late 1930s.  This grouping is where my new Goodyear pencil fits in: later clip, no white top and heck, now I’m noticing that Goodyear pencils by this time weren’t usually red.

Of course, now that I’ve sorted through all these I’m noticing where the gaps are in colors and models.   Guess I’m transitioning from “fishing with hand grenades” to targeted hunting!

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