Aikin-Lambert lead holder (clutch pencil)

Say, what's this pencil doing here? I don't normally do graphite, but I found this nice silver Alco pencil at a recent antique show for four bucks. It is probably at least 100 years old. "Alco" is the imprint used by Aikin-Lambert, one of the early quality fountain pen makers; they would later be acquired by Waterman.

The barrel features nice chasing, and a ball-end clip of a grace and quality seldom seen on fountain pens of the same vintage. Having no propeller mechanism, this is really more a lead holder than a mechanical pencil; a twist of the knob releases clutches that allow you to slide in a draftsman's lead (which you have to sharpen to a point with a stone or sandpaper). Another twist on the knob clamps the lead in place, ready for writing. Make mistakes? Bring along a separate eraser; this pencil doesn't have one.

This file last posted on:
2005-Jan-20 17:50:26 CST
MCMVIII, the red network