“…the characteristic Mongol band.”

No, this isn’t a post about hoomii throat-singing.

It’s about an unexpected benefit that comes about when finding these old documents: they sometimes help to determine what certain things were called. I don’t mean the brands or other proprietary stuff, rather it’s about the innocuous and mundane things, in lieu of which we’ve often just come up with our own terms (e.g. clip, clamp, crimp, etc.). Take for example this 1922 advertisement for Eberhard Faber’s Ruby and Ivy ink pencils:


I’ve wondered about this long ferrule, noticing that they tend to be found on copying pencils too. But rather than call it a ferrule, Eberhard Faber called this a “metal mouthpiece.” Perhaps anticipating the special dangers that pencil-chewers would face were they to gnaw on these copying pencils, he came up with this extended metal piece, allowing the user to orally fixate with impunity.

Second—that gilt band we’ve seen on the Mongol as well as the Blackwing, Van Dyke, and Microtomic? It has an official name: it’s the Mongol band (I’m going to presume this is the gilt band against darker surrounding metal, and not any of the other variations). I wonder though about how and why terms like these sometimes didn’t seem to filter-down through the decades. It’s the first I’ve heard of the “Mongol band”. And after the 1950s or so, you barely saw “clamp eraser” mentioned in catalogs—it just became an “adjustable eraser”, which loses a little spirit.

One other thing: here is a brief profile of Eberhard Faber II from Leonard’s History of the City of New York 1609-1909 (whose copyright has expired). I underlined an interesting passage, one that some might quibble about:


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8 Responses to “…the characteristic Mongol band.”

  1. Henrik says:

    It is only a guess, but the “mouthpiece” on the 7xx pencils could serve as a place to “post” the cap these pencils usually had?


  2. Sean says:

    A coincidental find this evening:

    I kind of meant it half-jokingly, but apparently this was on the minds of pencil-makers.


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