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Elliott Bros. Leadholder/Pen
courtesy Allan Macdonald collection

Elliott Bros. Leadholder/Pen

Elliott Bros., London, England

lead diameter
production date
~1.18 mm
friction slide clutch
ivory handle, nickel silver fittings, steel pen tips
(1900 to 1920s)
  Elliott Bros. pocket drafting tool set
Boxed set of tools (at actual size relative to most standard images on Leadholder)..
special features You name it. It’s special.

This is a very interesting set of tiny tools. I am no expert when it comes to such tools, but there are two very unusual things about this set from my perspective. The first is the pen handle. It is double ended which in itself seems unusual to me, but also it is specifically designed to hold a lead clutch.

Pen handles are standard issue in many tool sets. They are often included in smaller sets with compasses that have interchangeable legs. In such sets one can use the same compass for pencil and ink drawings as well as as a divider by exchanging amongst the compass legs provided within the set. Handles are included for the eventuality that the draftsman may need to use the ruling pen nib as a standard ruling pen in a pinch. By necessity, the pencil compass leg will also fit in the handle for a makeshift pencil, but, unlike the pen which becomes a very serviceable ruling pen when fitted with a handle, such a pencil is very clumsy and so I have never considered the handle to be useable with the pencil leg.

In this Elliott set, however, the folding compass is already fitted with all the necessary parts to be configured as a compass-pencil, -pen, or divider. The unattached ruling pen nib and lead clutch have nowhere to go but onto the handle to form a double ended instrument with a pen in one end and pencil in the other.

Elliott Bros. pocket drafting tool set