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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Torpedo Pencil

Recently I received an email from a US reader, enquiring if I knew anything about some pencils his father (a US Marine in WWII) gave him in the early 1950’s. Pencil photograph and description:-

They are obviously modelled after a WWII torpedo, weigh almost an ounce, and are about 4.5 inches long. The brass propellers spin, they still have pencil lead
and work well. They have absolutely no identification, manufacturer’s marks or
numbers anywhere on them. They are unbelievably sturdy, massively machined from solid brass components and chrome plated.

Obviously, they are uncommon but there are also a substantial number of them around (eBay), and they are all made with the same with interchangeable parts. That leads me to believe that there must have been some sort of a commercial production source somewhere at one time as opposed to a half dozen produced by a single bored machinist during WWII. The fact that they are completely un-marked makes me wonder if there was some wartime production (maybe a torpedo manufacturer) enterprise that made a bunch of them specifically for their employees.

Well, I don’t know anything about this pencil but offered to post something on my blog to see if anyone out there does know about them.


  1. Google is your pal! Just search for
    torpedo pencil
    and see what pops up...

    Have fun!

  2. Saw one of these up for auction on eBay about 6 months ago. Went for more than I was willing to spend but would have been a nice score.

  3. I had one and my father bought it at the PX in New London Sub Base in New London, Connecticut in the 1950's

  4. Hi just bought one unused on ebay , he said it was purchased in japan after ww2, but david nieshemera pens thinks it my have been made by cross????? the mystery deepens john

  5. Yes, David Nishimura, of, knows his antigue writing tools well. I just purchased the torpedo pencil from his website; I had been eyeing it for months. He suggests that it may have been a Cross manufactured pencil, but there is no maker's mark. Every piece I have purchased from his site has been exactly as described, and I trust his expertise. I still do my own research prior to purchase, but when I find a good seller, I stick with them!

  6. I had one of the torpedo pencils, I bought it at the gee-dunk store in Camp Berry, Great Lakes Naval Training center in late June of 1958 when I went active and took my basic training. Bought it home after boot, but I don't know what happened to it after that, but it was a great looking mechanical lead pencil. David Kerridge, Atlanta Michigan.

  7. I have one of these torpedo pencils. It belonged to my father who was in the Royal Canadian Navy from late 1940’s - 1952.
    I don’t know where he got it from.
    Deb, Vancouver, BC

  8. I have one as well it was my father’s, no idea where he got it. But, he installed periscopes on subs in the late 60s, early 70s and always wondered if it had anything to do with that.

  9. I have my fathers unfortunately I put lead in that is stuck . Does anyone know how to remove it ? I would really like to get if working again . My dad was a torpedo man on the uss bumper.