Monday, December 8, 2014

Found EXACTLY What I Was Looking For Today

A Blaisdell Mechanical Pencil.  I found a pair of these for $5 today and have been looking for something like this for quite some time now.  This is just about exactly what I have been searching for.  Also note the small dent up near the front, I will be coming back to that... 
Patent date of 1915... perfect!  (I think the date is on the other side, but this is the prettier side of the band anyway. 
There was no mechanism, the inner part just screwed into the outer part, and the leads which I shook out from inside were all an inch or less.  I could not find any good resources online, I had to figure this out for myself, the pencil seemed broken. 
I realized the lead fit into the nib(?) on the end and when the inner part was completely tightened the nib would hug down on the lead and hold it in place.  You would adjust the length of the lead before you screwed it all the way by pushing or pulling it with your fingers.  This is tricky because the more you screw in the inner part the more lead is exposed.  So how does this relate to typewriters?  Why am I so excited? 
Because these pencils are the right era and the right amount of wear to look completely at home on my Oliver #9! 
Not that I ever use an Oliver to draw a spreadsheet, she just looks a whole lot better with a pencil finally installed.  Oh, and that dent?  Oddly, exactly where I ended up tightening the little screw to hold the pencil in place... perhaps it is no stranger to the loving embrace of an Oliver!


  1. Now THAT is a cool addition to an Oliver. And I've never seen anyone else do this! Where's Gabe, and where's Marty?

  2. First time I've ever seen one of these pencils.

  3. Wow! You just may be right about that dent. So this pencil is from the teens or twenties?

    1. Patent date of 1915, so pencil production may have begun a year or two later, given that it's not a really common pencil I suspect it wasn't made for very long, and given that it also does not seem to be extremely rare I would guess it was made at least a few years, so 1920 give or take 5 years is probably about right. My Oliver is either 1919 or 1920 by what I can figure so the pencil is just about perfect for it!

  4. Perfect, both the pencil, and the Oliver! It seems that several of us typospherians like various other kinds of writing/printing instruments also.
    I can't tell from the photos, but it looks like the lead is the thicker kind used in now, older drafting/mechanical pencils. I have a few of the pencils, and tubes of the lead, complements of my theatre set design class in Chicago years ago. I even have the sharpener for those leads.
    You might find the leads in an older art supply/drafting equipment store. If not, I can send you a few if you'd like.

  5. By the way, I can't see where on your blog to click to automatically get the new posts, only the post comments.
    So if I don't keep checking back, I find them late. ??!! Thanks