Sunday, April 29, 2012

Eversharp Dollar Mechanical Pencil Review

Eversharp Dollar Mechanical Pencil Review

Many years ago I did a silly thing. I visited the “Website That Must Not Be Mentioned”… I didn’t have adult supervision… I was quickly ensnared. When I finally escaped I had gained a very nice mechanical pencil, but I soon regretted "the arm and a leg” it had cost me. Years have now passed, my arm has regenerated, and so now I can write a little review of the pencil in question.
It's all in the eye of the beholder

It’s a very nice pencil. It was sold to me as an “Eversharp Model 4112TC Jade Green mechanical pencil, from the 1932 catalogue”. In Jonathan Valeys recently published “The Catalogue of American Mechanical Pencils” it appears on page 64 in sub-section 12 "Eversharp 'Dollar Pencils' 1927-1935" and according to the text it would have been produced in the early 1930’s and was described in the Eversharp catalogues as a “popular priced” line, hence the Dollar Pencils terminology.

Dollar Pencil, well let’s just say I paid a lot more than a dollar. In fact I paid a lot more than the $10-20 price guide stated in the “The Catalogue of American Mechanical Pencils”.

Despite being a “popular priced” dollar pencil, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it’s still something of a beauty, especially considering it’s age.

The jade green marbled plastic body is still in bright glossy condition, and the gold fittings are in great condition. If you look hard you can see some marks from use, but there’s no brassing on the gold fittings and they are pretty close to original condition.

The colour of the green marble body is nice, but the lustre and depth of colour do not match that of pencils like the Conway Stewart Nippy No 3, although that’s perhaps not a fair comparison given the difference in time and price between the two.

The pocket clip is very sturdy and strong. Proudly embossed with the Eversharp name, and “Made in USA”. The gold plating still seems as good as new to me.

The full length, normal diameter body and tapering tip section mean this is a good writing pencil for everyday use. Typical of its time, this is a screw mechanism pencil. You twist the tip section around to advance the 1.18mm lead. The lead is advanced by a simple push rod so it is not grasped and help. That means the lead doesn’t retract unless you reverse twist the mechanism and then manually push the lead back in. Also the lead not being grasped means it will always twist and orientate so you are writing with the chisel edge formed on the tip of the lead. A fairly blunt writing experience by todays standards. Well anyway, that’s how mine operates. It is possible other examples maybe different.

There is an eraser under the top end cap. Although somewhat hardened with age, the eraser in mine is in far too good a condition to be original and must be a replacement from a more recent decade. There appears to be the usual lead storage under the eraser.

I’m not a mega-millionaire so of course price has some part in the equation, but collecting is my hobby, it’s not a commercial activity for me. Like anyone I would rather get a bargain than get ripped off, but I paid what I paid in an open market auction. I received exactly what I bid for. Eighty years on from its date of manufacture, I am very happy to be the owner of this Eversharp mechanical pencil.
If anyone out there actually has an old Eversharp catalogue that shows this pencil I would really appreciate confirmation of the actual model number 4112TC.

Dimensions – Length 143mm, diameter 10mm

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Full Circle

There’s an old saying, “All roads lead to Rome”. Well for me it seems “All graphite trails lead to Southern Illinois University”

I live a quarter of a world away from SIU Carbondale, but it seems I am somehow inexorably linked to it. Back in the days when a penfriend necessitated pencil and postage stamps, I had one, and as the years rolled by she ended up at her local college…SIU (before moving onto Boise and poll-dancing, but that’s another story). Then my first contact with internet pencildom came via that leading beacon of graphite, Pencil Revolution, based at…SIU Carbondale.

One aspect of this blog I have really enjoyed is contact with other people from far away places. Recently an MP user contacted me for a bit of advice, and later, as a thank you, offered to send me a few promotional items from their business. Guess where they are based…yep, Carbondale…and they have an association with SIU.  So, here I am, inspired to actually post something on this blog for the first time in a very long time. You might say this blog sort of started due to SIU and has sort of been re-started by SIU. To say thanks for the promotional items they sent my way, and acknowledge the role of SIU, here’s a little free advert for Little River Research & Design. Remember folks, if you are in the market for some river simulation, some fluvial geomorphology in a box, then Little River is the place for you!

Check out the videos about the Emriver river process modelling…in a box. Cool. I like those little rivers.

Oh, and here's the goodies they sent me.
Littel River Research & Design cotton carry bag and cap
Emriver - it's fluvial geomorpholgy made even more fun!
Official SIU Salukis Team Merchandise.
Left = new, right = 25+ years ago
Appears there has been some shrinkage...I certainly haven't changed!
Go Salukis!