Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Polypoint" three-color magic pencil

Three-color mechanical pencils are not uncommon. Nearly all use some form of slider to extend and retract the three nozzles. Much less common are those which make use of other mechanisms: twist-action and drop-action come to mind, with a tripling of the standard single-nozzle version's complexity. Taking it to the next level is this three-color magic pencil, where pulling the barrel back extends one of three nozzles, depending on how the forepart is rotated.

As with other high-quality three-color pencils, this example is sterling silver with hard enameled color indicators in red, blue, and black. While most are English-made, this one appears to be of American manufacture. Construction is solid, with considerable heft and fine attention to detail, but the nozzles are one-piece and not marked with the lead size -- marking that was the norm in Britain.

The only marks are found on the inner shaft: "PAT. APPL'D FOR" and "STERLING", followed by an unreadably small maker's mark that at first glance might be taken for Hicks's acorn.

After a quick look through our writing instrument patent reference library (and with special thanks to the compilations of Jonathan Veley), however, it became clear that the minuscule maker's mark must be that of Edward Todd, for the pencil's distinctive mechanism is none other than the one described in John C. Haring's US patent 940,247 for a "Polypoint Pencil", assigned to Edward Todd. The application was filed August 17, 1908, patent was issued November 16, 1909, allowing us to date this example within that span.

No comments: