The humble leadholder has been around a lot longer than you would think. Actually since the American Civil War, when the first perfected-for-manufacture holder was patented by John Faber of Germany in 1860. If you hung out with Art Director Harry Otto, you would know these things. Harry forwarded me a link to a website called Leadholder- The Drafting Pencil Museum, which is another example of how you truly can find anything on the internet.
It features documentation on just about every lead holder ever made, all the way back to the 1560’s. It might not sound that fascinating but once you see the site you’ll end up spending quite a bit of time there, ever if you’ve never used them.
The site is nicely designed and has some great history of their use including vintage catalogues, ads and blueprints of various makes and models. You never know, these could be the Hummels of the 21st century. (Considering what some of these things go for on Ebay, you may have your kid’s college fund sitting in your desk drawer.) So, ditch that gold and buy some vintage leadholders. Get started here: Audrey’s Pencils.