- Autopoint Company
The Autopoint Company was a manufacturer of pencils and desk top accessories in Chicago for about 50 years from the 1920s to around 1970. During that period Autopoint sold millions of pencils advertising companies large and small all over the country.
Autopoint was founded by
Frank C. Deli, Michael M. Kaufmann, and John P. Lynnaround 1920. They used the name "Realite Pencil Company." They worked with Lawrence V. Redmanof the Redmanol Company to develop techniques for molding plastic bodies for pencils. They took out several patents on plastic molds. The company continued to do business with Redmanol, and later with Bakelite Corporation after Redmanol had been merged into it.
In the early 1920s, they made a business alliance with Charles Keeran, who had been the founder of the
Eversharp Pencil Company. Keeran had previously registered the trademark " Autopoint." Eventually, the company took the name Autopoint. The company continued to used the brand name "Realite" for its line of less expensive pencils until World War II.
Around 1925, the Bakelite Corporation gained a controlling interest in the Autopoint Company. Apparently, Bakelite bought out founders Kaufmann and Lynn, and appointed a president who reported to Bakelite. Deli remained an officer of the Autopoint Company until his death in 1946. Bakelite did not integrate Autopoint into its organization but operated Autopoint as a separate company.
The Autopoint trademark (No. 125,149) was registered by Keeran on
April 15, 1919. The trademark was used by the Autopoint Company in Chicago from the 1920s to the 1970s. It is now used by Autopoint, Inc., in Janesville, Wisconsin.
In 1951, the
Cory Corporation, a Chicago company, bought Autopoint from Union Carbidewhich had acquired Bakelite in 1939. Cory operated Autopoint as a division appointing the president. In the 1950s, Julius Ledererserved as president of Autopoint.
Autopoint was a job shop preparing advertising pencils for many different companies. In the 1950s and 1960s, their product line also included a number of other desk top accessories.
In the 1967, the Hershey Chocolate Corporation bought the
Cory Corporation. A few years later, Hershey sold Autopoint to Gillette which merged it with its Papermatedivision. Gillette dismantled the Autopoint sales organization, sold the Autopoint plant in Chicago, and sold or discontinued much of its product line. The pencils that Gillette continued to produce were reengineered to allow more interchangeability of parts between the different types of pencils.
Around 1980, Gillette sold the Autopoint name and remainder of the product line to a group of business men from Janesville, Wisconsin. They founded Autopoint Inc. which continues to manufacture and sell pencils and other products under the Autopoint brand.
* ""Auto"-graphs", an in-house newsletter published from 1960-1967.
The Autopoint Company in Chicago offered a "Lifetime Guarantee" for its pencils. "That company no longer exists." Autopoint Inc. is an entirely different company which cannot be expected to honor the promises of the old Autopoint Company.
Autopoint Inc. cannot repair old Autopoint pencils because the entire product line was reengineered during the period that Autopoint was owned by Gillette. Parts from the old pencils are not interchangeable with parts from pencils manufactured today.
* [http://www.unl.edu/Bolin_resources/pencil_page/index.htm Web Resources Concerning the Mechanical Pencil Industry in Chicago]
* [http://www.autopointinc.com/ Autopoint, Inc. in Janewville, WI]
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