Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Bottle of Ink in a Pencil

I wanted to add something to our Christmas shopping list this morning so I was poking around in the old crockery jar on the kitchen hutch, searching for a pencil that actually had a point on it.

Now let me tell you about this crock. It might have always been mine or it might have come to live at my house when my mother passed away. I can't say for sure because we each had one and they were very similar. Kind of a family tradition. Theoretically it is a pencil holder. In reality it contains pens from companies you did business with years ago, pencils with no points and rock-hard erasers, scissors, rulers, chopsticks, emery boards, Popsicle sticks, fondue forks, crayons, markers, candle snuffers, pipe cleaners and pretty much anything else you could stand up in a jar. Things go in and pretty much the only time they come out is when you try to write with one of the dried up pens and toss it in the trash.

Okay, back to the point (no pun intended!). I'm lifting the pencils one by one in hopes of finding one I could actually write with and I ran across one that had a metal cap instead of an eraser. Hmm. What's this? I looked at the side and it said "A Bottle of Ink in a Pencil". What the?? On the other side it says NOBLOT Ink Pencil - Eberhard Faber U.S.A. 705. It doesn't take much to send me off to Google.
It seems these pencils were invented in the 1860s or 1870s and had something to do with letterpress printing. Later they were used as an early way of making copies. There were special books called "copy books" that were manufactured with a piece of tissue paper between each page so you could create a copy from the page written with the ink pencil. They became wildly popular during WWI because ballpoint pens hadn't been invented yet and it wasn't practical for soldiers to carry and use fountain pens in the field. My Grandpa was in France during WWI. I always wondered why every time he picked up a pencil to write he always touched it to his tongue before he began to write. Who knew!
Apparently these pencils are still used by the artists who restore old signs. Eberhard Faber was absorbed into Sanford who was absorbed into PaperMate but the pencils are still sold under the Sanford name. I found a New Old Stock Eberhard one on eBay for $18.88. Whatever there is, there is somebody who collects it - LOL!
I don't know if this pencil migrated to my house with my mother's things or if it was in one of "poke sacks" that comes home with me from the second hand store but I think it's pretty fun that it mysteriously appeared in my kitchen and waited patiently for me to notice it.
I am pathetically easy to distract....

1 comment:

SmurfyGirl said...

very cool! I like the pen (pencil?) AND the fact that you're such a good sleuth, always running to Google to find more info! :) Sometimes it can be good to be easily distracted.