Posted 6 months ago
As promised; this Collectors Weekly post follows on from my previous items covering Sampson Mordan Gold & Silver propelling pencils in my collection. This time delving a little deeper into the refills:
Someone once said: "If you become a Collector of Antique gold and silver propelling pencils, then eventually you WILL become a Collector of the lead refills in all their various presentations!"
How true that is; now I go round antique and collector fairs, car boot sales (UK)...(US yard sales), Charity Shops (UK)...(US Thrift Shops) etc. etc. on the hunt for refills for all my pencils in my collection!
All pictures are from my Collection:
A very small (Ladies) gold propelling pencil from my collection, which I actually use (the larger examples), in my work as a professional Artist & Illustrator. This is why it is so important for me to obtain ready supplies of these refills. ( I have now tasked my Studio Technician to MAKE these refills for me (and others)! But that is another story, NOT for Collectors Weekly). Many Collectors also demand refills so they can at least load their collected items, and this is perfectly understandable. You can see an "M" stamped near the writing tip; signifying the type of lead needed. All the different leads have different diameters and degrees of hardness/softness, but were categorised by Mordan for their various uses (see Photo .4: First picture)
(a) A gold propelling pencil with the REFILL TYPE LETTER "M" hand engraved on the tip (see Photo .4 for the list of various refills as laid down by Sampson Mordan and then taken up by most pencil makers).
(b) A silver propelling pencil with the REFILL TYPE LETTERS "VS" machine stamped on the tip.
(c) The lead refill storage chamber on most Antique Propelling Pencils is situated under the Finial Cap which unscrews.
(d) Most pencils of standard quality have one single lead refill storage chamber.
(e) The higher the quality of the pencil, the more complex is the lead storage chamber. The sign of quality is the "Pepperpot" chamber; here a three section example.
(f) A high quality Sampson Mordan pencil with a five chamber "Pepperpot".
(g) An extremely fine Sampson Mordan example with the "pinnacle of quality"; an eight chamber "Pepperpot" or "Revolver" lead refill storage facility.
(h) Lead Refills as supplied by the Sampson Mordan Company. Each individual lead is often found inserted in a minute glass vial in these cardboard boxes. This example is a box of "VS" refills. (see Photo .4 for the list of various refills).
(i) Other Suppliers and Makers provided Lead refills in wooden "Treen" screw cap pots or even precious metal "tins" or cylinders.
Just a small selection of my refills gathered around the photo that started my compulsive collecting (and using) of these rare Antique & Collectable lead refills.
The first picture is one page of the Mordan Patent that started off the Standardisation Process of Propelling Pencil Lead Refills.
The second picture is just one page from a late Victorian catologue offering just a tiny fraction of the many different gold & silver propelling pencils on offer.
The famous saying: "If one collected for a whole lifetime, one would probably not obtain an example of every precious pencil ever made by The Victorians". This is so true, you only have to look up the famous "Loring Collection" online to begin to realise the truth of this statement!
I will continue to post items from my "Collection of Antique Writing & Drawing Equipment", over the coming months, as time allows. Thanks for looking at this CW Post, I hope you found it interesting. I look forward to your comments.