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Pontiac Master Salesman Vacumatic


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#1 BrianMcQueen

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 04:25 AM

Another interesting Vacumatic is on its way to my apartment thanks to an auction nobody else seemed to care about: a 1937 Standard (I believe Standard anyway, will require verification) with a special clip made as a presentation pen for a Pontiac Master Salesman. I wasn't able to find much information about what it took to become a Master Salesman, but this is apparently one of the gifts you could get for being one in 1937/38. David Nishimura has a matching pencil for sale on his site.

The emblem is supposedly solid 10k gold and is placed on what appears to be a special made clip. Notice there are no feathers imprinted on the clip, so I imagine that the pen was a special assembly in Janesville.

I'll take better pictures when it arrives in the mailbox. What other special "company" Vacs like this are out there? I seem to remember that David I picked up one with a Purina logo printed around the barrel.

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Edited by BrianMcQueen, 01 August 2012 - 04:28 AM.


#2 sloegin

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 04:36 AM

I saw the auction. It looked like an OS to me, but I'm terrible at judging first gen vac sizes.

#3 BrianMcQueen

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 05:01 AM

I saw the auction. It looked like an OS to me, but I'm terrible at judging first gen vac sizes.


I'm terrible at it, too, but this didn't seem big enough to be an OS. If it is, then it came REALLY cheap.
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#4 sloegin

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 05:13 AM

As I said I'm terrible with the first gen vacs. I recall a better shot of the nib, and don't recall the ruler shot. A note on the ruler shot, it appears to be at least a 1/4 inch off, as the graduations don't start at the end of the ruler.

#5 penmanila

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 05:21 AM

it's a standard. saw that, too, and thought of bidding on it for a minute, then decided to let it go to somebody else. glad it was one of us ;)

my sights were focused on this other uncommon vac, way out in ireland:

http://www.ebay.com/...49#ht_982wt_932

Edited by penmanila, 01 August 2012 - 05:29 AM.

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#6 Innes Cate

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 08:06 AM

it's a standard. saw that, too, and thought of bidding on it for a minute, then decided to let it go to somebody else. glad it was one of us ;)

my sights were focused on this other uncommon vac, way out in ireland:

http://www.ebay.com/...49#ht_982wt_932



Did you win it?

#7 penmanila

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 10:03 AM

yup ;) so that makes brian and me two happy campers.

Edited by penmanila, 01 August 2012 - 10:03 AM.

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#8 wekiva98

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 03:54 PM

I've got a virtually identical Vac from '37 with the same Pontiac clip. I also have an oversize Sheaffer Balance with an Oldsmobile clip and a couple of standard Balances with Cadillac crests on the clips. (No mention of salesmen on these.) All are black. I'm betting there were a lot of customized pens that Depression-era dealers offered to good salesmen or to well-heeled buyers who dropped a lot of money on a fancy car. It would make a good subject for a Pennant or Pen World article.

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Edited by wekiva98, 01 August 2012 - 04:35 PM.


#9 david i

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 04:14 PM

I've got a virtually identical Vac from '37 with the same Pontiac clip. I also have an oversize Sheaffer Balance with an Oldsmobile clip and a couple of standard Balances with Cadillac crests on the clips. (No mention of salesmen on these.) All are black. I'm betting there were a lot of customized pens that Depression-era dealers offered to good salesmen or to well-heeled buyers who dropped a lot of money on a fancy car. It would make a good subject for a Pennant or Pen World article.



A prescient post, no doubt.

Do peek at PENnant, due out any day now. Related, if not identical, subject is touched upon as part of a monster (MONSTER!) Sheaffer article.

regards

david
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#10 wekiva98

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 05:50 PM

The slow economic recovery during the '30s faltered in 1937-38. (The story told by many economists is that President Roosevelt made the mistake of listening to folks who wanted him to cut government spending in the middle of fragile recovery. Sound familiar?) Anyway, that slump would have given car dealers plenty of incentive to use pens or other gimmicks to drum up sales.



#11 david i

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:03 PM

The slow economic recovery during the '30s faltered in 1937-38. (The story told by many economists is that President Roosevelt made the mistake of listening to folks who wanted him to cut government spending in the middle of fragile recovery. Sound familiar?) Anyway, that slump would have given car dealers plenty of incentive to use pens or other gimmicks to drum up sales.



Number of issues in play. The Economics of the Great Depression is a loaded one. Some argue that Roosevelt kept the Depression going from his start in office by trying to create stimulus at all. That does sound familiar Posted Image

But, Keynesian, pseudo-Keynesian and Austrian economics aside, I am not sure we must invoke the Depression to explain ties of non-pen retailers to classic fountain pens. Far earlier pen makers ware offering coats-of-arms/crests and personal engraving for fee. High quality pen makers were not averse to customization and to badge engineering, though badge-engineering too seems to take off during the 1930's. Confounding variables are in play of course. Pens grew more reliable during the 1920's-1930's, making them more useful as corporate products. Too, keep in mind we don't know any of these 1930's car-badge pens were used to drum up sales. They could have served as internal stock, given to ranking retail/factory employees/owners. Clearly some were gifts to employees.
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#12 wekiva98

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:27 PM

All I was doing was suggesting a possible context for my four late-'30s car-related pens. I acknowledge that customization of pens for companies and social groups started much earlier and continued long after. I look forward to the Pennant article.

#13 david i

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:44 PM

All I was doing was suggesting a possible context for my four late-'30s car-related pens. I acknowledge that customization of pens for companies and social groups started much earlier and continued long after. I look forward to the Pennant article.



Hi,

I don't disagree. I guess I just didn't want to see an assumption of Depression-math as the dominant issue, though it could have been the dominant issue and certainly could have been a contributing issue. In pendom things have a way of becoming "givens" once we say 'em a few times.

Too, economics (particularly Depression- 1930's and 2010's) have been a side interest of mine, so I tend to poke when sweeping views are offered ;)

I've recommended a terrific site to a few of us at FPB who share the interest. Mike Shedlock is not a political shill, he cheerfully lambastes Left and Right when appropriate, and offers eye opening commentary. Usually three columns each day, with comments by the peanut gallery (like me).

His Global Economics website is

http://globaleconomi...s.blogspot.com/

Do check it out.

regards

david





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Email: isaacson@frontiernet.net

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#14 John Danza

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 07:59 PM

Far earlier pen makers ware offering coats-of-arms/crests and personal engraving for fee. High quality pen makers were not averse to customization and to badge engineering, though badge-engineering too seems to take off during the 1920's. Confounding variables are in play of course. Pens grew more reliable during the 1920's-1930's, making them more useful as corporate products. Too, keep in mind we don't know any of these 1930's car-badge pens were used to drum up sales. They could have served as internal stock, given to ranking retail/factory employees/owners. Clearly some were gifts to employees.


This is certainly the case with Parker. They offered both engraving and specialized insignias as custom orders on pens and pencils as early as 1918. As far as car company insignias, I've seen both the Pontiac logo and the DeSoto logo on Duofolds, in both cases added to wide cap bands.

John Danza


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#15 John Jenkins

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 09:51 PM

These are cool pens. As I recall the one in my collection, the emblem is gold filled (mine is highpoint brassed) and the emblem is simply welded on a standard clip. Mine is engraved with presumably the salesman's name. It would be interesting to know if the other examples here are engraved as well.
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#16 BrianMcQueen

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 02:48 AM

These are cool pens. As I recall the one in my collection, the emblem is gold filled (mine is highpoint brassed) and the emblem is simply welded on a standard clip. Mine is engraved with presumably the salesman's name. It would be interesting to know if the other examples here are engraved as well.
John


I'll let you know if mine is engraved when it arrives. It's interesting that your emblem is attached to a regular clip with feathers intact. I wonder if it isn't a different pen, like this Pontiac pen from Tyler Dahl: LINK

#17 david i

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 04:32 AM

I dug up some pens that have been resting in the ol' collection a long time.

The Vac is an earlier pen than the Sheaffer. Vac appears to have the badge soldered/welded in place. For the Sheaffer the badge is crimped to clip.

There are other interesting tidbits to be noted in this image. If no one is up for ID'ing 'em, I'll toss some details out tomorrow.

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regards

david
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Email: isaacson@frontiernet.net

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#18 John Danza

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 04:39 AM

There are other interesting tidbits to be noted in this image. If no one is up for ID'ing 'em, I'll toss some details out tomorrow.




Well, the reverse trim on the Chevrolet pencil certainly jumps out.

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#19 BrianMcQueen

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 04:43 AM


There are other interesting tidbits to be noted in this image. If no one is up for ID'ing 'em, I'll toss some details out tomorrow.




Well, the reverse trim on the Chevrolet pencil certainly jumps out.


As does the reverse trim on the Sheaffer.

#20 Teej47

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 03:58 PM

I do like that reverse trim Sheaffer. Downright nifty.

Do tell what that graphic is on the Vac the others are using as a pillow...

Tim
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