In this series, I want to give you a peek inside my collection of vintage fountain-pen-related items. Today we’re going to look at some of the vintage non-metal pencils that I’ve collected. These include plastic, celluloid, and hard rubber pencils. I have never gone out of my way to collect vintage pencils, but am always happy to pick one up when the opportunity arises. I especially like finding pencils that are in rare colors or patterns which would be out of my budget if they were fountain pens. It’s kind of a way for me to enjoy the finer things in the world of fountain pens without spending a fortune.
As with most vintage items in my collection, I don’t claim to be an expert on these pencils. I think items like these are a fascinating part of our hobby and want to share them here so that hopefully you can get some enjoyment out of them like I do! One nice thing about vintage pencils is that they are rarely discolored like many of their fountain pen counterparts. This is because the ink sacs that were inside of fountain pens often would give off gasses that would discolor and deteriorate the pen materials over time. Since the pencils didn’t have sacs inside of them, they were spared from a similar fate.
Black Hard Rubber Pencils
These first two pencils are black hard rubber pencils. While the top and bottom of the pencil is metal, the body is made out of hard rubber. Each has a different chasing pattern (the pattern engraved in the body material), both of which are fairly common for this time period. The top pen is a Moore, while the bottom is a Wahl-Eversharp, which is a very common pencil brand for this era.
This pencil is also black hard rubber, but is covered in a sterling silver filigree. It is a Waterman pencil and likely came as part of a set with a matching fountain pen. Since this is a ringtop pencil, it was probably originally paired with a 52 1/2 fountain pen with the same silver filigree overlay.
Pen and Pencil Sets
Speaking of pen and pencil sets, I can imagine this theme would make for a very fun collection. I have never found myself drawn to collecting sets, but you can’t deny that they sure do look good together. When I bought this Pelikan 500 at a pen show, I didn’t realize that it came with a matching pencil until I had already decided to buy it.I have quite a few Esterbrook pencils that I could probably match up with a pen to create a set, but have never really felt compelled to do so. I also just realized I didn’t photograph any of my Esterbrook pencils, but they basically look like Esterbrook fountain pens.
Celluloid and Plastic Pencils
These are some of my personal favorite pencils. As I mentioned above, these give me a taste of owning a rare and valuable vintage fountain pen without the matching price tag. In fact, I don’t think that I have spent more than $30 on any of these pencils (and have spent much less on most of them).
This first set of pencils are all variations on the popular Jade Green color. The top two are made by Sheaffer, while the bottom is made by Eversharp (but not Wahl-Eversharp). One peril that many vintage pencils have suffered is losing the top cap that covers the eraser. Unfortunately, this has happened to the middle Sheaffer, but that doesn’t take away from the beautiful color of the material.
These next four are all Parker Duofold pencils. If I were to purchase the corresponding fountain pens, I’d be looking at spending thousands of dollars. These are some of the most desirable of the vintage colors and, since they are pencils, are in almost perfect condition.
These final two are just as special to me as the Duofold pencils. The blue pencil is a Conklin and it would have come as part of a set with a matching Endura fountain pen. The red/orange pencil is a Wahl-Eversharp and is made out of red hard rubber, a much less common material than black hard rubber. While it is a little dirty, the chasing on it is in perfect condition and shows no wear.
Collecting vintage pencils can be a fun and enjoyable way to compliment a vintage fountain pen collection. Most vintage pencils can be found at a fraction of the price a comparable fountain pen would cost. While they may not bring the same amount of enjoyment a fountain pen would, I still love my small collection of vintage pencils.
I’ll leave you with a few other photos of vintage pencils that I owned in the past. I have sold these since these photos were taken, so they’re no longer in my collection, but they still are fun to look at!