There was a time when millions of pencils were used daily. Almost as many minutes were wasted because of the necessity of having to stop work to sharpen the pencils with a pen knife. The mechanical sharpener gained wide acceptance as a way to streamline business.

The Mechanical Pencil Sharpener


"Ever since the invention of pencils, there has been a never ceasing effort to produce an efficient pencil sharpener, and the wayside is strewn with the devices which have been tried and found wanting. They would make a curious collection too, from intricate machines, with rods and gears, to the simple lead cone with a pot-metal blade that never stays sharp." -Geyser's Stationer, a trade publication from 1896


Jan 1, 1884 W. E. Sibley
Sibley's Pencil Sharpener

Waltham. MA
This device was warranted to work twice as fast as any other pencil sharpener in the market. It was advertised as the only practical pencil sharpener ever invented.
Sep 2, 1884 E. S. Stimpson
Stimpson Pencil Sharpener Boston, MA
This sharpener was advertised as economical of time, labor and pencils. It was easy to operate, durable and absolutely positive in accomplishing its work.
May 12, 1885 W. H. Lamson
Dixon's Pencil Sharpener
Jos. Dixon Crucible Company Jersey City, NJ
This sharpener (see above) consisted of a shaft with a knife and holder at one end The pencil was inserted through two disks into the knife holder. The cog wheels were rotated by cranking a handle In advertisements, the Dixon claimed to be the alternative to the many useless pencil sharpeners flooding the market.
May 25, 1886 C. E. Gould F. H. Cook
The Gem Pencil Sharpener Leominster, MA
This sharpener consisted of a round disk of sandpaper against which the pencil was pressed as the disk was rotated by a crank which moved both the pencil and the disk simultaneously. The manufacturers of the Gem were willing to send out sharpeners on trial to responsible parties.
Oct 25, 1887 S. Forrester This pencil sharpener is not pictured in this chart.
Aug 28, 1888 G. H. Coursen This pencil sharpener is pictured below.
May 7, 1889 B. N. Black
The Unique Pencil Sharpener
E. L Kellogg & Co New York. NY Chicago, IL
This sharpener was hand operated by rolling the rubber friction wheel backward and forward over any flat surface until the pencil was sharpened. Because the Unique did not need to be attached to anything, it could be carried in your pocket. It was advertised as a universal necessity.
Apr 29, 1890 E. S. Drake
Perfect Pencil Pointer
The Perfect Pencil Pointer Co.
Portland, ME
To use this sharpener, a pencil was placed in a carriage. When the hand held the carriage, the pencil pressed against a file. Movement in either direction sharpened the pencil to a perfect point. The advertisements claimed that every machine sold caused a demand for others.
Mar 24, 1891 J. D. Mills
The Mills Pencil Sharpener
The Mills Pencil Sharpener Co. Cincinnati, OH
The operation of this sharpener was automatic. The pencil was inserted and allowed to revolve. When the crank was turned, the sharpener did the rest. The Mills Pencil Sharpener claimed to give the maximum result for a minimum of time and effort.
Feb 11, 1896 C. M. Walker
The Peerless Pencil Pointer
Walker Mfg. Co.
Chicago, IL, Adrian, MI
This sharpener was chain-driven and constructed 1896 on scientific principles. The Peerless would sharpen any pencil to a needle's point and never break the lead. The advertisements claimed that it  was used by all colleges, seminaries, and many  large business houses.
Mar 17, 1896 G. F. Ballou
Planetary Pencil Pointer
A. B. Dick Co.
Chicago, IL, New York, NY
Instead of sandpaper, knives or files, this sharpener used wheel cutters, run by bevel cogs, which in turn were revolved by a crank. The Planetary claimed to be the only system by which a perfect point could be made on pencils of all  kinds, grades and sizes.
1897 Patent Applied  For Upright Pencil Sharpener
Upright Machine Company
Paterson, NJ
On this device, a double-cut file, known as a wood rasp, did the sharpening. The pencil was  inserted into the sharpener and held against the file while the crank was turned. To introduce the Upright, 10,000 were to be sold for half price.
Jan 26, 1897 P. L. Lord
The Combination
The Lord Manufacturing Company
New Haven, CT
This device was a combination pencil sharpener and eraser cleaner. The pencil sharpener was a  large spool of sand paper. The pencil revolved against the sandpaper by means of three beveled cog wheels, which were turned by a crank. The pencil sharpening part of the device was easily removed and the eraser cleaning brush was then slipped onto the wheel.
Nov 2, 1897 H. A. H. Guhl
The Jupiter Pencil Pointer
On this sharpener, the cutting wheel was made reversible so that when one side became dull, the other side could be used. The Jupiter claimed to be able to sharpen any shape of pencil. Although it was advertised as high in price, the Jupiter claimed to last a lifetime.

All the information in this chart was provided by Howard Levin.