The first time I came across the name Scripto was in an email I received some time ago from my good friend George over at My Supply Room. Initially I wondered what it was all about as the name sounded to me a bit like a 1950s superhero! Not so.
Scripto, it turned out, is the name of an American company (still in existence today as ScriptoUSA), which produced a range of mechanical pencils and graphite leads from the early 1920s to the mid 2000s. In 1955, Scripto also began producing a range of refillable lighters marketed under the name of ‘Vu-Lighter,’ and later they manufactured a range of ballpoint pens. More information on the history and products of the Scripto company can be found at George’s blog, or at Roger Russell’s website.
George very kindly offered to send me a package of Scripto pencils, though owing to postal delays, which were down to either USPS or Royal Mail not George (just wanted to make that clear), George decided he would mail a second package just in case the first one had been lost. Imagine my surprise when, almost within days of each other, the two Scripto packages arrived.
Thanks to George’s immense generosity, I reckon I probably have one of the largest, or most complete Scripto collections in the UK! I remember we joked about it at the time, wondering if my collection warranted a knighthood or something – so if the right people are reading this, an OBE will do just fine, thanks.
All the pencils now in my collection are great, but there are a few that, for me at least, are true gems – the first of these is the WordMaster:
Produced in the mid 1940s, the WordMaster really is a thing of beauty. Measuring just over 5 inches in length, and weighing 20g, it features a gold plated clip, bands and point – that’s real gold by the way! The cap is a push fit, which can be removed to give access to an eraser, beneath which there is storage space for an additional six leads. The WordMaster operates using a twist mechanism for extending the lead and, whilst a bit stiff, the one in my collection still works, not bad for a pencil made around sixty years ago. Roger Russell’s site features a WordMaster advertisement from the May 31st, 1947 Saturday Evening Post magazine, which shows these pencils were originally sold for $1.00!
The second of my gems is this, the Scripto Classic:
I have two Scripto Classics, sometimes referred to as the twist or spiral type, one green and one blue, and both in fully working order. They really are a joy to use – simply grasp the pencil and twist the chrome band above the clip to advance the lead.
The rest of my collection is made up of Scripto pencils manufactured USA, Mexico, Japan and Korea, among others, and I am having great fun learning more about this famous manufacturer as I slowly catalogue the collection.
Before I sign off, here’s a pic of the ‘Vu-Lighter’ butane lighter George also kindly sent me:
George recommended I should be careful when filling, as sometimes these lighters developed a leak around the filling aperture and you could end up with a handful of lighter fluid if you weren’t careful! No such problem with this one though, as George had it serviced before he sent it to me.
PS: I wouldn’t want my readers thinking this was all a one way trade, I did sent George some Pentel pens he was having trouble sourcing for his own collection, which he blogged about here, and here.