Friday, October 16, 2015

To The Point: A Mystery Artifact Revealed

We've only had one guess on this mystery artifact on the blog, but it was the correct one! This strange little machine is a pencil sharpener.
The name of this particular style of pencil sharpener was the “Perfect Pencil Pointer.” It would have been used something like this:

If you needed a sharper pencil,  you would place the pencil through the donut-shaped apparatus, which would move back and forth along the bar.   The metal plate on the bottom is actually a file that would sharpen the pencil to a point, and the trough at the bottom is there to catch pencil shavings. The purpose of the little brass teeth is to turn the pencil around as it was being sharpened.  
This particular type of pencil sharpener was patented in 1890 at a time when many different styles of mechanical pencil sharpeners were being sold.  Before this time, most people would simply sharpen their pencils by whittling them with a knife. Which, apparently was a man's job, as we can see in this advertisement (for a different pencil sharpener) from around the same time:

As always, please come down to the museum to take a closer look at this artifact and so much more! Hope to see you soon!

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