While many of the pieces are not “museum quality”, part of the attraction for me has been those pieces that were clearly valued possessions by their early owner(s). In that context, some pieces show signs of wear, demonstrating that the owner enjoyed the use of the pencil on a regular basis, and for a significant period. The majority of the collection dates to the 1800’s. Considering that many of these pencils are almost 200 years old, every one of them would have an amazing story to share if they could.
A much smaller, but equally enjoyable, part of the collection includes a variety of 20th century pencils. The few Parker pencils in the collection are only a small fraction of the offerings that Parker sold during the 20th century. Their “Duofold” range has a timeless appeal to me as most are just as beautiful and functional today as they were the day they were made, 100 years ago. Many others obviously share this view as the classic Parker Duofold design of fountain pens and pencils is still being manufactured today. Novelty pencils of the 1940’s-1960’s have had a similar appeal. Most were advertising give-aways or souvenir-type pencils. Not particularly high quality, and not particularly expensive at the time, but each creative in their own way.
I’m fascinated by the travel inkwells, likely for the same reason as victorian pencils. Unlike some of the gorgeous antique desktop inkwells and inkstands, the travel inkwells were designed to be more than just a pretty face. Travel inkwells had to be able to carry an adequate ink supply securely during the owner’s travels, whether that was by horse, carriage, ship, etc. without leaking. Ink bottles started to show up in the collection as a somewhat natural progression… I couldn’t resist the variety of ink suppliers, the creative bottle designs and bottle manufacturing processes, and the fact that these fragile clay and glass items have survived the test of time.