William Vale & Sons
Antique ladies Edwardian sterling silver propelling pencil with seal c1901-1914Made in England
Beautiful antique Edwardian ladies sterling silver propelling pencil 1901-1914. Featuring beautifully crafted hexagon body with carved filigree design, chain loop and circular seal, "H" hallmark at the base of the nib, is in excellent used and working condition.
History of Pencils & Holder
Graphite was discovered and quickly became widespread with the discovery of a large deposit in Borrowdale, England in 1564, attracting artist and alike. It was soft and brittle, and required a holder and the graphite sticks were firstly wrapped in string, late into hollowed wooden sticks, which were similar to those used today.
The metal pencil was first patented in 1822 by two business partners Sampson Mordan and John Hawkins. The metal pencil with an internal mechanism for propelling the graphite shaft forward during use, is now known as the propelling pencil.
Now that the casing could be metal, most commonly gold or silver and appeal to the increasingly affluent middle and upper classes people in the 19th century in Britain.
Soon after various whimsical patterns were introduced like dog, cat, pig, owl and fish-shaped pencils for their propelling pencils.
Between 1820 and 1873, there was more than 160 patents various mechanical pencil designs in Britain. The first spring-loaded mechanical pencil was patented 1877 and in 1895 the twist-feed mechanism was developed. By this time some mechanical pencils where able to feed the graphite through the pencil, as it wears down and some still only hold the graphite in position against gravity.
These mechanical pencils are still in demand today bay artists, architects, draughtsmen, collectors and alike.
On a side note ladies propelling or mechanical pencils were a lot smaller as they were hung off a chain on a ladies outfit like charms (chatelaine) and various useful items used for day to day use like perfume bottles, coin purses, vinaigrettes, notebooks etc.
Please refer to our photos as they form part of the description.