Never Bring a Knife to a Pencil Fight

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.

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3 Responses to Never Bring a Knife to a Pencil Fight

  1. Kevin says:

    Initially I thought the end bit was retractable, but then I saw part 9 was a screw which appears would grip/bite the pencil barrel to secure the attachment?. I was interested in a retractable attachment because it looked just like the retractable slide mechanism on my just purchased utility knife. It is truly amazing how something as simple as a graphite pencil could spawn so many patents, and interesting ones at that. No wonder the ferrule/and/or other related attachments was so ingrained in American pencil culture..the marketers could clearly see the increased profitability.


    • Sean says:

      Because of its resemblance to a scalpel I automatically thought “very sharp” when I first saw it, but I don’t know. The patent claims it can cut paper, so, it would have to be pretty sharp. I know—maybe it’s a pencil sharpener attachment, for your other pencils. 🙂

      There were far too many pencil-related patents to go through all at once, but yes, it looks like everyone and their brother took a shot at it.


  2. Gunther says:

    Now that’s a contender for the “most pocket-unfriendly pencil” contest 😉 Anyway, I also enjoy the enormous number of pencil-related patents. – Thank you for showing!


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