mechanical pencil

mechanical pencil

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A black and gold mechanical pencil made of black colored plastic (est.) with bands of non ferrous gilt metal. The plastic has incised chevron pattern. One end is open and the other end has a round knob on the end of an inner gilt non ferrous tube which telescopes out and has chevron incised lines. "Todd&Co NY Dec5 71" is stamped on the plastic sleeve.
In a world before copying machines and computers, every letter, memo, and report had to be typed many times. If you made one mistake, you typed it again. Secretaries drafted, corrected, and retyped in an almost endless loop. Offices had typing pools (dozens of women) making enough perfect copies for everyone. There was no backspace key!
Pens and pencils were symbols of secretarial work and given as gifts to “office girls.”
Object Name
mechanical pencil
Physical Description
plastic, non ferrous metal, gilt (overall material)
overall: 3 1/8 in x 1/2 in; 7.9375 cm x 1.27 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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