Pencil Sample Books


Based on some of the comments from the previous post, I’ve gathered together a few examples of pencil sample books and sample folders. They used to come in a great variety of shapes and sizes during their heyday, including samplers that served as promotional gifts, or as more sturdy books that were used by the salesforce.

The first two examples could carry twelve pencils each (not to mention pens and penholders). Their small size means they are easily carried in the hand, and could possibly fit the inside pocket of a jacket:


If sample books had a weakness it would be the type of material used for the loops, and how the loops were attached to the boards of the book. For the example on the left the elastic is not run underneath, rather each loop is held in place by a thread that emerges through the holes. If one of those threads breaks, that’s it. Further, both ends are anchored underneath the inner cardboard which means you can’t tighten or otherwise adjust the size of the loops:


The one on the right uses the same design, except that the holes are reinforced with plastic rings:


Most of the sample books I’ve seen were used to showcase a variety of lines. However some, like the following, were designed to display the extent of one particular line. In this case, the Van Dyke series:

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The elastic is held in place by the same means as the examples above, including both ends being anchored:


The next folder is the companion to the one in the previous post. It has three panels, two of which are used for pencils. Like the other folder, this one needed to have the elastic bands completely replaced. Once I found some that would fit, I used an X-acto blade to separate part of the cover from the inner board at the top in order to anchor the strap:


Then, I glued about 1/2 inch of one end of the elastic inside and pressed the two parts back together:


Next I fed the elastic straps through each of the staples, being sure to leave a little slack for tightening:


Once all of the pencils are in there will be plenty of elastic left over:


This is a much better design than that of the other books. The elastic allows for the pencils to be held firmly in place, and it also permits items with larger diameters. And since only one end is anchored, the elastic can be adjusted as needed.


The last example has four panels, all of which are used for pencils:


Like the first two examples, the elastic in this book is thin and held in place by an even thinner thread at equal intervals. But in this case the elastic is only anchored at the top, and is therefore adjustable:


Pencil sample books and sample folders are a great way to keep things organized, and are every bit a piece of history as the items they carry.

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2 Responses to Pencil Sample Books

  1. Patrick says:

    I’m digging that older model Contak.


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