"Everything that can be invented has been invented." -Charles H. Duell,
Commissioner US Office of Patents, 1899



(Webmaster's note: This article was scanned from the Summer 1997 issue of ToolTalk.)

In reading about new pencil sharpeners, there was naturally some hesitancy in accepting the manufacturer's claims. Nearly all pencil sharpeners had failed in the past. As a result, people who would have liked to own a perfect machine were skeptical.

Device Name
Description Picture
Jan 9,
J. A. Webster
The Ideal Pencil Sharpener
J. M. Olcott & Co.
New York
The ads for the Ideal claimed to have found success at last. Anybody who could turn a crank could use this machine. The Ideal made less noise, less dust, and sharpened a pencil quicker and neater than other sharpeners.
May 1,
G. R. Eager
Webster Pencil Sharpener
F. S. Webster Co.
Boston, MA
The Webster was a rotary type pencil sharpener with a single mill cutter. Cast on the machine is the patent date, June 21st, 1892 but there is no record of this patent.
Patent App for Mar 19, 1901
Patent Received Nov 14, 1911
F. B. Canode
Lakeside Pencil Sharpener
Lakeside Specialty Co.
Chicago, IL
Eberhard Faber, Sole Agent
The Lakeside claimed to be constructed on correct mechanical principles. The ads advised the user to preserve the directions. After the pencil was inserted through the chuck, you were to tighten the pencil with the thumb nut. Twelve to fifteen revolutions by the crank produced perfect points on new pencils. When the thumb nut was loosened, the pencil could be removed.
Dec 9, 1902 F. Mossberg
Mossberg Pencil Sharpener
Attleboro, MA
The Mossberg was the American version of the 1897 Jupiter Pencil Pointer. The inventor claimed to be making changes but when the machine was produced, the changes were slight.
Mar 29, 1904 E. L. McDivitt
The Little Shaver Pencil Sharpener
Belvidere, IL
The Little Shaver claimed to be economical because the pencil point was in sight at all times. This enabled the user to cut as much or as little of the pencil as was desired. This sharpener was easy, natural, and could be used by anyone.
Sept 11, 1906 O. E. Hammond
The Rockford Pencil Knife
Rockford Pencil Knife Co.
Rockford, IL
The Rockford Pencil Knife was designed to produce a sharpener so simple that anyone could operate it. It was priced low enough to bring it within the reach of all customers. The ads claimed that this sharpener met the unanimous approval of thousands of users.
Sept 11, 1906 H. A. H Guhl
Jupiter Pencil Pointer
Hamburg, Germany
The ads claimed that the Jupiter was of excellent workmanship and could be operated easily and quickly. When the cutting wheel of this sharpener was dull, it had to be replaced. It could not be re-cut. New cutting wheels sold for 75 cents.
Oct 2, 1906 E. N. Gilfillan
The U.S. Automatic Pencil Sharpener
Automatic Pencil Sharpener Co.
Chicago, IL
The U.S. Automatic Pencil Sharpener cut with the grain of the wood, like a knife. The pencil was held in position automatically until a perfect point was obtained. This sharpener originally sold for $3.50.
Jan 1, 1907 F. E. V. Baines
Roneo Pencil Sharpener
Roneo Co.
New York, NY
The working parts of the Roneo were contained in a "interior revolving section" and could be instantly interchanged by simply pushing a lever. The ads claimed that all pencils looked alike to the Roneo.
Nov 16, 1909 R. W. Pittman
Everett Pencil Sharpener

Everett Specialty Company
New York, NY
Rather than grinding, the Everett whittled the pencil to a point by using a knife blade. The ads claimed that there were no parts or cogwheels to wear out and no springs to break. Every part was in full view.
Circa 1910 Chelsea Pencil Sharpener
Chelsea Mfg. Co.
Chelsea, MI
American News Co.
The disks used on the Chelsea were made of flint sandpaper. This sharpener claimed to be simple, durable, perfect in detail and low in price. It also claimed that it would pay for itself in a short time in both pencils and time saved.
Circa 1912 New Era Pencil Sharpener
C. E. Smith & Co.
New York, NY
The New Era sharpened it's own blade and could never become dull. When the pencil point was made, the New Era automatically stopped cutting. The ads claimed that there wasn't a sharpener on the market that compared with it.
Circa 1912 The "Quail" Visible Pencil Sharpener
On the Quail sharpener, the pencil remained stationary so any friction with the cutting mechanism was overcome. Because the pencil point was visible while operating the machine, the process could be closely watched. The compound rotating of the cutting wheel made this machine very rapid. The ads claimed that  the Quail was durable as well as ornamental.

All the information in this chart was provided by Howard Levin. He is interested in corresponding with other pencil sharpener collectors. Call Howard at 818-342-8816.