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Mechanical Pencil Month – Day 4: The Eversharp 4 Square

Day the fourth be with you!

On that note, it’s hard to think of a more quadratic pencil than the Eversharp 4 Square. This was a mechanical pencil of square section that came pre-filled with four square leads, each four inches in length. It launched in 1934 in the USA, priced at 47 cents (why not 44?) and came complete with four patented reversible erasers. I won’t go into more detail here as the pencil’s American lineage has been discussed in depth elsewhere, if with some initial confusion over the name.

Red, green and blue Eversharp 4 Square pencils made in England

The pencils I have photographed are a bit different from the usual type, as they were made in England for Eversharp Limited, a branch of the US company based in London.

Eversharp 4 Square pencil made in England boxes

They still have the 4 Square branding, square section barrel and patented reversible eraser of the original.

Eversharp 4 Square pencil end cap logo

However, beneath the end cap is a tiny stamp which refers to British patent 428162 of 1934, covering an updated version of the reversible eraser/cap arrangement (this was first patented in 1932 by the Wahl Company in the USA).

Eversharp 4 Square pencil British patent eraser

There are also separate British patents for the pencil and its square leads, both applications dating from 1933.

Another difference is the grip section of the nozzle used to advance the lead, which has a much more distinctive shape and knurling pattern than that of its American cousins.

Eversharp 4 Square pencil knurled nose cones

The British 4 Square naturally came in a square section box with a short instruction sheet and the stern warning to “use only Eversharp four inch 4 Square lead in this pencil”.

Eversharp 4 Square pencil instruction sheet

The metal bodies of my three examples are enamelled in red, green and blue, but according to the A West & Partners catalogue of c.1950 the pencil (No. 44!) was available in five unspecified “pastel shades” – again, why not four?

Eversharp 4 Square pencil in the c.1950 A West & Partners catalogue

That’s all for now, but Mechanical Pencil Month continues in earnest next week. Be there or be square!

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