Eversharp was a pioneer maker of mechanical pencils.
The company was started by Charles Rood Keeran in 1913. He applied for a patent on the pencil on October 10, 1913 and was granted US patent 1,130,741 on March 9, 1915. The first production Eversharp pencils were made in New Jersey by Heath Corporation, a prominent provider of high quality metalwork to the writing equipment industry. These pencils were test-marketed over the holiday season of 1913 at Wanamaker's in New York City. Shortly thereafter, Keeran moved his base of operations back to Illinois. In October 1915, Keeran signed a contract with the Wahl Adding Machine Company of Chicago to manufacture Eversharp pencils. In mid-November 1915 Wahl took control of Eversharp in exchange for a capital infusion of $20,000. At the end of 1916, Eversharp was wholly absorbed by Wahl through an exchange of stock. Keeran retained a small stake in the combined firm and held the position of sales manager, but by the end of 1917 Keeran had been squeezed out of the company.
The Eversharp pencil was a huge success. By 1921 over 12 million had been sold. The Eversharp allowed Wahl to become one of the leading manufacturers of both pencils and pens, its entry into the fountain pen business in 1917 also facilitated by Charles Keeran, through purchase of the Boston Fountain Pen Company. Somewhat confusingly, the Wahl Pen Company used the Wahl name for its pens and the Eversharp name for its pencils. At the end of the 1920s, however, the company renamed itself Wahl-Eversharp, and all products, pens and pencils alike, were marked accordingly. In 1941 the company renamed itself, this time as Eversharp. It remained a major player throughout the 1940s, but a series of missteps in its attempts to enter the then-new field of ballpoint pens hurt the company badly. In 1957 the Parker Pen Company acquired Eversharp. The Eversharp name was used for a time, but within a few years the production of Eversharp pens and pencils had come to an end.
Beginning in 2012, Syd Saperstein and Emmanuel Caltagirone acquired the rights to the original WAHL and EVERSHARP trademarks and revived the brand name as the new WAHL-EVERSHARP Company, otherwise legally unconnected to the operations of either the old Eversharp, Inc or WAHL Company. Today the WAHL-EVERSHARP Company produces modern fountain pens based on original patented designs of both Wahl Pen and EVERSHARP.
- U.S. Patent 1,130,741 New and useful Improvements in Lead-Pencils and #1151016, and #1153115
Notes and references
- The pencil: a history of design and circumstance, Henry Petroski, Knopf, 1992. ISBN 0-679-73415-5, pp 265–270.
- Charles Keeran, a Mechanical Pencil Pioneer
- Inventor Never Got Rewards of Pencil Business - Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL newspaper)
- A Tale of Two Pencils: Keeran's Eversharp & Hayakawa's Ever-Ready Sharp originally published in The PENnant, Winter 2001
- Syd Saperstein and Emmanuel Caltagirone's brand website
- A gallery of company advertisements up to 50s