Friday, December 1, 2023

Avanti - these are fun contraptions

Several hundred-thousands were made of these, but they are somehow rather thin on the ground. Did manage to snag one last week though - with 'patina', but complete and with intact decal.

There -of course- is information about pencil sharpeners on the hive-mind that is the Internet. There is information about the maker of these Avanti devices, the firm of Emil Grantzow in Dresden as well as on the machines and how they evolved over time. Mr Grantzow started patenting and making these little machines from around 1908. From the decal and its features, this specimen can be dated as having been made between 1923 and 1938. 

The remnants of gold pin-striping makes me think this one was made in the 1920s rather than the 30s

To clean the device, it was taken apart as much a possible.

The decal on these machines is by the way not applied direct to the little bin, but is on a separately applied nameplate. The brass knob holds it in place.

All individual parts were cleaned. Hot, soapy water for the greasy parts; scrubbing with stiff brush and steel-wool where needed. A polish for the nickel. A gentle rinse for the lacquered parts in warm water. Then new oil, grease and wax was applied to all parts.

Putting it back together, the pencil clamping-ring is a surprisingly nifty assembly with unexpected split baseplate. That baseplate needs some adjustment to get the friction right, for proper clamping of the pencil. Other than that, it is fairly straightforward. The reduction gear-train is on a plate that can be adjusted to fit properly right-below the pencil clamping assembly.

And all together again; a shiny clean pencil sharpening machine.

Then the question is; does it work?

Yes, it does :-)

The knives are certainly not as sharp as they would have been originally, but it does actually work. It does prefer hexagonal pencils, round ones can slip in the clamps. Very neat is that the lever at the side allows choosing how sharp the point will be; from a robust, blunt to a fine, sharp point for drawing. Also a feature is that when the pencil is sharp, the machine will simply stop sharpening - no 'chewing-up' of a pencil if you just keep turning (and the temptation is there, fun machine).

Every (home-)office should want one! -these really are fun contraptions :-)

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