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Early Pencil History Question


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#1 AAAndrew

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 20:17

In my researches for my steel pen blog, I'm trying to find information about a short-lived maker from the 1850's called Rhodes & Son. 

 

I ran across this ad from 1850 and thought maybe one of the pencil aficionados here could help. 

 

fpn_1510949497__1850_rhodes_and_son_penc

 

The rest of the ad is for a stationer, and addressed to draftsmen and scholars. It includes Fabers Finest Drawing pencils, ...

 

About the only thing I know is that "Cumberland lead" would supposedly be from England, and very high quality generally. The term "graduated," would that refer to hardness? Size of lead? 

 

Does anyone on the pencil side know Rhodes & Son? Their pens were being sold up through 1859 at least, but by 1862 I can only find a reference to "Rhodes & Son celebrated pocket and pen knives."

 

Just thought I'd ask. 

 

Thanks,

Andrew


Edited by AAAndrew, 17 November 2017 - 20:17.

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#2 AAAndrew

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Posted 17 November 2017 - 21:29

I did find that a book called The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance has a mention of Rhodes Pencils on page 120, but the google books preview is missing that page. (they did have an index). 

 

If anyone has that book, can you check page 120 and let me know what it says? I suspect it's just a mention. 

 

Thanks!


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#3 JakobS

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 16:49

I did find that a book called The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance has a mention of Rhodes Pencils on page 120, but the google books preview is missing that page. (they did have an index). 

 

If anyone has that book, can you check page 120 and let me know what it says? I suspect it's just a mention. 

 

Thanks!

 

 

I have it at home, I'll let you know what I find! 


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#4 JakobS

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 17:11

I was able to get a google view of the page, perhaps through my university credentials (though not obvious they were used!), and it looks like Rhodes pencils are mentioned as part of an endorsement of the pencils Henry David Thoreau and his father were making.  Thoreau's pencils were equal in quality to Rhodes, according to one D.C. Johnston. The endorsement was dated June 1844.

 

The endorsement also made it sound as if Rhodes was from England. Certainly not an "American" pencil, as Thoreau's was far superior to any of those! 


Edited by JakobS, 20 November 2017 - 17:26.

FP Ink Orphanage-Is an ink not working with your pens, not the color you're looking for, is never to see the light of day again?!! If this is you, and the ink is in fine condition otherwise, don't dump it down the sink, or throw it into the trash, send it to me (payment can be negotiated), and I will provide it a nice safe home with love, and a decent meal of paper! Please PM me!For Sale: TBA

#5 AAAndrew

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 20:29

Thanks so much. This Rhodes & Son(s) has been driving me crazy. I've taken to eliminating them from large cities by using directories. So far they weren't in NY, Boston, Philly, Pittsburgh. Rhodes is too common of a name without any hint of a first name. It's crazy. And the apostrophe keeps moving. Sometimes it's Son's, sometime Sons', sometimes Sons. 

 

It would be good to see if there was a British maker of pencils by that name, or if it could be "my" Rhodes. It didn't help that I got pulled into a wild goose chase because of an "M.M. Rhodes & Sons" who made buttons in Taunton, Mass. at the same time, or possibly his father S. Rhodes who also had a factory. It took some time to confirm that they weren't the ones. But MM is the only Rhodes with a patent from that time, (for shoe buttons) so that didn't help. 

 

I appreciate your looking. 

 

Andrew


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#6 AAAndrew

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Posted Yesterday, 02:36

I finally found the answer. It was Thomas Rhoads and Sons of London. I wrote about them here


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