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tline3open  Novelty Retractable Pencils

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Author Topic:   Novelty Retractable Pencils
wessex96

Posts: 52
Registered: Feb 2009

iconnumber posted 05-14-2018 05:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wessex96     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

I have a couple of silver novelty buttoners that have retractable pencils incorporated. The pencil lead holder ends appear very similar in both and both have the same patent date stamped on them – OCT 8 78. So, presumably they are from the same manufacturer? Does anybody know who this is?

The riding crop is also stamped STERLING-F [or perhaps STERLING-E?] but with no maker’s mark. Crosby's 'Victorian Pencils, Tools to Jewels' shows the identical item also stamped 'GORHAM', but I understand that this probably indicates Gorham was the retailer of the item rather than the manufacturer.
The fishing net has no marks other than the patent date.
Ian

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dragonflywink

Posts: 935
Registered: Dec 2002

iconnumber posted 05-14-2018 11:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragonflywink     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Ian - Oct. 8, 1878 patent #208858 belongs to the button hook rather than the pencil, and it was issued to Joseph A. Smith of Deep River, Connecticut; the working end of the crab & net piece is shown in the patent, but the whip-handle hook seems a more whimsical form. J.A. Smith was a manufacturer of button hooks, crochet hooks, knitting needles, corkscrews, etc. from the 1860s until at least the 1920s - keep in mind that the patent number and/or date might also be placed on pieces manufactured by other firms using the protected element belonging to the patent-holder. You mention that the whip-handle piece is marked with an 'F', and it may well be a trademark used by pen and pencil manufacturer LeRoy W. Fairchild (shown in Rainwater) - interestingly, Fairchild was issued 1880 design patent #D11795 for a somewhat similar piece that also appears to be a button hook, though it's not mentioned in the text (to avoid patent infringement, perhaps?)

Will post some images of the patents when I get a chance, bit short on time at the moment...

~Cheryl

[This message has been edited by dragonflywink (edited 05-14-2018).]

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dragonflywink

Posts: 935
Registered: Dec 2002

iconnumber posted 05-14-2018 02:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragonflywink     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

~Cheryl

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wessex96

Posts: 52
Registered: Feb 2009

iconnumber posted 05-15-2018 04:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wessex96     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


Thanks, Cheryl, for that info. I took a look in Rainwater and yes, I agree about LW Fairclough & Co being the probable maker of the riding crop. (Pity the patent did not cover the pencil mechanics!) Also I agree that patent 208858 nicely describes the fishing net buttoner end but does not really fit the riding crop. Could the date on the crop apply to another patent on the same day - or is that unlikely?

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dragonflywink

Posts: 935
Registered: Dec 2002

iconnumber posted 05-15-2018 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dragonflywink     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Suppose it's possible, but do believe it's unlikely to be another patent, and feel that the overall shape of the loop, though asymmetrical, along with the twist, is similar enough to be covered under the patent. I did run though the 1878 patents for anything related to pencils, lead-holders, or Fairchild issued on that date and found none.

Spent a good part of my youth around horses and the accompanying tack, so will mention that the item depicted is not a riding crop, which wouldn't have a lash, but rather a hunting whip...

They're both quite nice, enjoyed seeing them!

~Cheryl

[This message has been edited by dragonflywink (edited 05-15-2018).]

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wessex96

Posts: 52
Registered: Feb 2009

iconnumber posted 05-15-2018 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wessex96     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I should have realised about the whip – my sister-in-law rides horses at her farm! Thanks again for your checks, Cheryl.

I have seen a number of novelty silver items that have the same type of retractable pencil included in their design and recently found that you can still buy leads that fit them. If you have an item of this type, you should look for a lead diameter of 1.18 mm. The leads I came across were made by German companies and can be bought quite cheaply.
Ian

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June Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 1146
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 05-15-2018 07:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for June Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Speaking of mechanical pencils, there is a wonderful book called The KB Collection of Pencils - Antique Mechanical Pencils that you may find of interest.

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wessex96

Posts: 52
Registered: Feb 2009

iconnumber posted 05-17-2018 03:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wessex96     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks June - I'll look out for a copy.

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