adsfromthe1800s (adsfromthe1800s) wrote in vintage_ads,

Planetary Pencil Pointer - now a WOMAN can sharpen a pencil!

I love this advertisement - I find myself snickering every time I read the tag line:
Now a woman cansharpen a pencil.  Because she couldn't before?  Apparently not! 
I know every time I need a pencil sharpened, I ask my husband to do it

I suppose whittling was "un-ladylike" and downright "dangerous" for a
woman to do.  I guess that would mean that I like to live on the edge since I
do my fair share of whittling here and there. 

This is a great advertisement on a number of levels.  Much like some of
the my other featured advertisements, this gives us a look into the
culture and social norms of the day.  We quickly learn that sharpening
pencils (or other writing implements) involved sandpaper, knives, and
files; this was not something undertaken by those of the fairer sex. 
Furthermore, we hear a term that you don't generally find today - a
"draughting room" (see below).  "Draughting" is the older spelling of
our modern-day "drafting," and a "draughting room" was a place where
drafters would compose plans explaining how various pieces of machinery
function or how to construct something.  It was basically their place
of work. 

Here is a page from American Engineer and Railroad Journal, Volume 77 describing
some particular draughting rooms, namely those associated with the railroad
("What Motive Power Officers Are Thinking About):

Now that I am done with that digression, here is a bit more about this
particular pencil sharpener.  Many different types of pencil sharpeners
were being
manufactured in the second half of the 19th century. 
These included abrading machines, machines with milling cutters,
machines with blades, etc.  Many of these devices weighed over 5
pounds!  Not exactly portable! 

Here is a quote from The Early Office Museum, describing this
particular sharpener: "The A. B. Dick Planetary Pencil Pointer
was patented in 1896 and sold until the mid-1910s. Unlike the
Gem and Perfect, which were designed so that the pencil revolved,
this antique pencil sharpener held the pencil stationary while two
milling disks described what is known as 'planetary motion'
around the end of the pencil. Like a planet, which revolves about
its own axis while it orbits the sun, the cutters on a Planetary
revolve about their axes while they orbit the tip of the pencil. This
motion is displayed in the moving picture to the left.  The
Planetary is 5” tall and weighs 2 lb. 10 oz."

The Early Office Museum also has a wide variety of other office implements
and machinery that you might enjoy.  Two versions of the Planetary Pencil
Sharpener are pictured below.  On a side note, if you own one of these antiques,
they tend to go for about $200+ on eBay! 

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