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July 14, 2015

Do you have a guess what this contraption is?

It's a pencil sharpener!  Seriously.  It was
patented by Joseph Dixon in 1885.

Pencils and office supplies were BIG business by the middle of the 19th
century.  Here are a few of the illustrations from A.W. Farber's 1897 catalog.

 With the Industrial Revolution came
more sophisticated office supplies.

By the 20th century Farber had factories in France and Germany and
showrooms in London, Paris, Berlin and New York City.

Antique and vintage pens and office supplies
are growing in popularity among collectors.

It's becoming harder and harder to find complete ink well sets.

Apprentice clerks started out with no-frills basic ink wells.

But as they rose in the company, their
ink wells became more sophisticated.
Occasionally I'll spy one of these beauties at a flea market but
they're becoming quite rare.  The one pictured above has a
scrolling date feature which makes it even more collectible.

If you're a collector of antique and vintage pens and office supplies, happy hunting!


  1. The thumbtack removal tool has been resurrected---as a tick removal tool! It's true, I saw it on the internet. :-)

  2. You know you're an antique when you see stuff like this and can remember using some of it, lol.