Aug 20, 2013

Vintage Pencil Sharpeners for Back to School

By KatyO (VintagePDX)

For those of us with school age children, one of the more dreaded back-to-school tasks has to be sharpening the vast quantities of #2 pencils on the school supply list.  A modern electric pencil sharpener is noisy, unreliable, and expensive, and a notebook-sized hand sharpener will drive you mad after the first pencil.

Behold! The affordable and reliable vintage alternative: an old-school, wall-mounted, hand-crank pencil sharpener.

Boston Sharpener from EVT Seller HappilyEraAfter

I grew up with one of these in our laundry room, and when I visited my grandmother, I discovered she had her own mounted on a post halfway up the basement stairs.   A few years later, as my mother was closing out Grandma's house, I gathered up the sharpener, shavings and all, and put it in a Ziploc to take home. I couldn't bear to leave it behind.  When our daughter was heading off to kindergarten, I finally put grandma's sharpener up in our laundry room. (I should add:  I had to empty out 50 years of shavings I had carted around through 4 moves across the country.)  Now our daughter can sharpen her own pencils. I'm happy to be spared the hassle of grinding down 40 yellow Ticonderogas.

EVT members have a selection of pencil sharpeners for your back-to-school needs.  Here are a few other fun examples.  The see-through body and angles make this one perfect for a machine-age office:

Futuramic Sharpener from EVT Seller Dentwood

The orange color of this Boston brand sharpener is perfect for a mid-century home:
Orange Bostonette Sharpener from EVT Seller VintageGypsies

And this Apsco has a sizing wheel to sharpen different size pencils:
Apsco Sharpener from EVT Seller wretchedshekels

Additional EVT Seller's sharpeners can be found here: EVT Sharpeners.

Add a practical new vintage item to your home this fall!  You'll find pricing on vintage sharpeners is often less than a new electric model, and you get a higher quality product when you buy vintage. Just make sure to to take it with you if you move. One of my college friends bemoaned the loss of her family sharpener; she accidentally left it mounted in the pantry of her old home.

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Moddities :: 20th Century Vintage said...

We had the exact Boston as the first one here in my elementary school and a "wood grain" metal one mounted at the end of our kitchen counter (directly over the garbage can, of course. ;) I absolutely love these, not just for the memories but because they are sturdy and well-designed. And nothing beats that deep grinding sound! Great post!

Callooh Callay said...

We just sold my in-law's old house, but first I had to unscrew the pencil sharpener from the basement--too fun. Great post! said...

I remember the one I had as a kid. It had a huge black suction cup on the base that wouldn't let go for anything! Great post! Thanks so much!

Franziska said...

Back to school has always been one of my favorite times...and as an artist, I've always loved freshly sharpened pencils. What a fun article to read...makes me want to toss my electric sharpener and invest in a classic...

lovethosehandsathome said...

Fun to read! Thanks for the memories!

TheOldBarnDoor said...

Boy, this brings back some wonderful memories. We had one of these when I was growing up and it was located on the backside of the door where Mom kept linens etc in the dining room. Not that we did our homework there but it seemed to be the most central location. Although the house was gutted and rebuilt, by my sister, I can still stand in that house and visualize exactly where it was, the sound and the smell of the shavings. Thanks for the warm memories

Happily Era After and The Vintage Reader Etsy Shops said...
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Happily Era After and The Vintage Reader Etsy Shops said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Happily Era After and The Vintage Reader Etsy Shops said...

I remember in my very early years of school we had to go to the front of the room to sharpen pencils. We actually had to raise our hands and ask "May I sharpen my pencil". LOL. Great memories!
Wonderful post! So honored and thankful to have my sharpener featured!
Thank you!!

Laurie at Bird in Hand Vintage said...

Love the vintage sharpeners! So much character in these utilitarian pieces. Great post!

jenscloset said...

We still have one in our basement, hooked to the wall. Came with our 1950s house!