Prints & Cards
Eversharp Pacemaker 1938-1941
by Jim Mamoulides 12/30/01 - Updated 10/6/02
Coronet's Little Brother
The Wahl Eversharp Pacemaker was introduced in 1938 as the low-cost or down-model sibling to the famous Coronet pen and pencil, selling for US $3.50. The line continued until the introduction of the Skyline, Wahl Eversharp's most successful line. The Coronet is considered by many to be the height of Art Deco pen design, and it remains a highly sought after and expensive prize. The Pacemaker model is generally lesser known and less sought after by collectors.
The pencils are often confused with the Coronet pencil, which had two versions, one having an all solid gold or gold-filled metal cap and barrel and the other having the same metal cap with a crosshatch or marbled pattern plastic body in a variety of colors. As Eversharp pencils greatly outsold the pens, it's not unusual to find examples of the Coronet and Pacemaker pencils alone.
In pen books the Pacemaker tends to get little if any mention, usually only in a photo or two, often left out altogether. This is really too bad, because this pen has the same stately size, shape and trim as the Coronet, but is rendered in gorgeous laminated plastics.
The Pacemaker, save the black model, is an all plastic laminated cap and barrel pen and pencil, and appears to be constructed in the same manner as lesser expensive pens, such as contemporary Diamond Point pens. The cap and barrel appear to be made from laminated tube stock, as there is no visible seam. Each of the cap and barrel ends have a distinct darker color, shades of the pen color darkened toward black, and may be an inserted end cap. Held in a strong light will show some color pattern, but not the same as a turned laminate. Poor examples may show crazing in the end cap and fading in the cap and barrel material.
On the sample pens, there are some construction variations: the laminate stops short of the barrel threads on the blue pen, but extends all the way on the red one.
There are also at least two sizes: the black pen is a slightly narrower diameter and has an "Eversharp" imprint, instead of the "Wahl Eversharp" imprint on the larger pens. These could be either manufacturing variations or changes in design over time. The narrower black pen is also fitted with a Skyline feed, which is probably either a repair or a late run use-up of parts. Some speculation has been made that the smaller pen is a secretary model or a pre-Skyline version from about 1940.
The Pacemaker clip, identical in design with the Coronet, and trim on both the pen and pencil are gold filled. Pacemakers have been known to have been cannibalized for their clips to replace worn or damaged Coronet clips. The section is visulated, also as with the Coronet, though the Pacemaker window is larger. The nib, however, is smaller, plainer, and rounded, marked only with the Eversharp name, and any grade information.
The pencil shares the Coronet repeater pencil's push-button cap, including the square Pyrolin inserts around the button and the large square insert in the top.
Pacemakers came in four laminate colors: brown, green, red, and blue, and plain black. The laminate has a textured cross pattern, adding depth to the pen.
Presented As Jewelry
Wahl Eversharp played strongly on the notion that its products were like jewelry, as did many pen manufacturers. For a pen aimed at a lower cost market, the Pacemaker came in a very large presentation case. Pens were often displayed in jewelry cases, so the boxes had to double as a presentation case, as in the example above. The lid serves as the display base for the pen set, and the set is stored by inverting the lid.
The Pacemaker nib is much less elaborate than the gimmicky nibs of the Coronet line. The section is equipped with a clear window, very useful to track how much ink is left in the pen. The nib is straightforward and without any fancy engravings, safety shut-offs, flex adjustments, or other silly gimmicks.
I tested the blue Pacemaker pictured in this article, fitted with a medium flexible nib. The pen is mid-size, about 5 inches long capped and 6 inches posted. Because this is a fairly lightweight pen, the cap adds little weight and is not factor in the balance in the hand. The pen is well balanced, capped or posted.
The plastic is very pleasing to the eye, but next to a Coronet, the Pacemaker is actually quite understated. The blue is probably the most vivid color, followed by red. The black is very attractive, if you like a black pen. The Pacemaker's trim looks very good in black.
The clip has no spring, so it probably won't clip well to a flannel shirt or a coat pocket. Outside jacket and coat pockets were not uncommon places to find a man's pen, so this is a curious potential problem. The pen sits fairly high in the pocket, similar to a Sheaffer Balance, because the clip is front mounted on the cap. The pen fills easily with a quick stroke of the lever.
The Pacemaker nib is nice, with a little flex, but not overly smooth, which is a surprise, given Eversharp's reputation for butter smooth nibs. It writes pretty wet. I would imagine that as other Wahl Eversharp pens I've used, this is a well enough made pen to use every day.
Even though the Pacemaker was intended as a lower line pen, they are unusual enough to demand moderately high prices. These are not commonly found pens and not usually well identified. The pencils alone, which seem to be slightly easier to find than the pens, will often be mislabeled as Coronets. Therefore, prices may be all over the map. I've noticed prices tend on the high side if the dealer knows about the model. Look for examples that have the top cap and barrel end intact without crazing. Apparently some pens had trouble with discoloration on the ends.
I find the Pacemaker to be a highly attractive and unusual pen. It's one of the pens I have that attracts attention when shown. With some nib adjustment, this particular pen should be a great user.
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Last Update 8/23/04