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Wahl and the Ever-Sharp Pencil Company
Eversharp Pencils - The Myth
In 1912, Tokuji Hayakawa, a Japanese businessman, invented an all metal propel type pencil named Ever-Sharp. The Ever-Sharp Pencil Company began exporting pencils to the United States in 1914. The pencil was immediately successful and in 1915, The Wahl Adding Machine Company bought controlling interest in the Ever-Sharp Pencil Company. Wahl began manufacturing Ever-Sharp pencils in Chicago in 1915. The Wahl-Eversharp propel pencils continued to be a popular item well into the 1920s.
Eversharp Pencils - The Truth
Recently discovered information dispels the story above of the Eversharp pencil being originally designed and produced in Japan. The mis-information has been generally accepted by those in the pen community for many years and has been published in several different references. One of the most fascinating aspects of fountain pen collecting is that new information is constantly surfacing. This is not the first instance of well accepted information being disproved. I would suspect that as time goes by, more old and accepted fountain pen myths will also be discovered.
The Eversharp pencil was invented by Charles Keeran in 1913. He applied for a patent to the pencil on Oct 1913 and was granted the patent in March 1915. Some of the very first Eversharp pencils were produced in New York by Heath. (Heath is known for high quality filigrees and metal work on pens) These pencils were first sold in a test market during the holiday season of 1913 at Wanamaker's in New York. In October of 1915, Keeran signed a contract with Wahl to manufacture Eversharp pencils. Wahl was apparently quite persistent in wanting to have total control of the Eversharp pencil production and in August 1917, Charles Keeran was basically forced to resign from the company. Wahl certainly was not up front over the years about sharing these historical facts!
From an original Wahl Eversharp 1928 advertisement
Usually, when we think of the Wahl Eversharp metal pencils, we envision
the basic gold filled ringtop model with chevron chasing and the
accompanying dings and dents that unfortunately, metal writing
instruments are subject to. Aside from the basic pencil style mentioned
above, Wahl Eversharp produced metal pencils in a variety of chasing
patterns and metal finishes.
We've acquired a nice little grouping of early Wahl Eversharp metal pencils that are in beautiful condition and virtually free of unattractive dings and dents. These make great little nostalgic gifts!
Eversharp Pencils were very, very common and a favorite pencil of many during the 1920s. In fact they were so popular, that many people yet today refer to all mechanical pencils as "Eversharps". Today it is harder to find these elegant mechanical pencils in nice condition, the metal is prone to wear, as well as to little dings and dents over the years.
Reprint of a 1930s Eversharp Catalogue. Information and illustrations on Interchangeable Points, Equi-Poised, Gold Seal, Doric, Propel-Repel-Expel Pencils, Red Top Leads, Diagrams of Eversharp Mechanical Pencils and Personal Point Pens. Measures 8.5 x 5.5 inches, soft cover, staple bound, 14 pages, black on ivory.
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