Back when I was in elementary school, I remember having some pop-a-point pencils. The hollow plastic barrel held small plastic nibs (for want of a better term) with a pre-sharpened lead attached. When the point wore down you would just pull it out and stick it back in at the top of the barrel, which would push the next nib into place. They were easy to use (no more arduous, wasteful trips to the classroom pencil sharpener!), and to a 9-year-old, having tiny pointed things you could throw, flick, or otherwise launch in class made them irresistible.
I haven’t thought about those pencils since then and would have assumed that they were the height of 1980s pencil-making ingenuity. That is, until I saw this pencil:
It’s called the Everpoint No. 55, and was made by the American Pencil Co. I don’t yet have an exact date for this, but it may date back as far as the late 19th century (if not this particular pencil, the design at least).
Just like the pop-a-point pencils, there are nibs that fill the length of the barrel, though in this case the nibs are made of wood and the barrel is made of metal. The pre-sharpened leads are glued into each nib.
The diameter of the barrel seems just a little thinner than a standard round wood-cased pencil. I don’t know if this pencil is possibly missing an eraser tip, but there are no marks to indicate something was once on there. I’m debating whether to clean and polish it, or leave the patina as-is.
The term “Everpoint” appeared on several different pencils. In fact American Pencil Company’s Venus pencils were once called Venus Everpoint pencils, so I don’t know if this is a style, brand, or if it refers to leads much in the same way that Eberhard Faber used the term Microtomic. I am almost entirely unfamiliar with the products of the American Pencil Co., and I’d be interested to learn how these were manufactured, as well as if consumers were able to buy the nib refills or if they were instead encouraged to buy a whole new pencil.
This pencil was a real surprise to me, but it reminds me that much of what we regard as being modern pencil design actually originated a long time ago.
What a great item! Thank you for showing it. It is indeed very exciting to see that some ideas that are presented as new are actually old ones.
Thanks, Gunther. And thanks for your link: now I know that the No. 55 is one of their “perpetual pencils”.
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