I don’t know for how long pencil-fighting was popular, or if “popular” is even the right word to use. The few times I tried it, things didn’t go my way; it seemed like there was some actual technique involved that I hadn’t yet picked up. But if I could travel back in time for a rematch, just imagine the look on my opponent’s face when he sees I’ve come prepared with—not some palooka Ticonderoga—but a sledgehammer-for-a-ferrule Microtomic or a Blackwing. If I only knew then what I know now I could have been a contender, and today I’d be sitting pretty on all the lunch money I would have won.
I’m mentioning this because of an odd patent I came across. It’s an attachment for pencils that looked a little ominous at first sight:
This patent dates back to 1909 and belongs to Michael Danahay from Eureka, Illinois (perfect city for him, I guess). I thought at first it might have been a detachable sharpening knife, but that’s not it. The patent description states that this is an attachment for a pencil “…adapted for use to cover and protect the pencil point and also for use as a letter opener, paper cutter, fingernail cleaner, and the like.”
Fingernail cleaner? The only thing missing is a bloodstain remover.
Searching through patent databases I’ve come across a bunch of odd and interesting pencil-related patents, which I plan on posting from time to time.