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Cardinal Charlie’s first ballpoint pen was in 1946

Published 3:49pm Friday, February 22, 2013

I remember the first ballpoint pen I ever had.

It was a Reynolds Rocket. This was in 1946 (how many remember it?) It was about eight inches tall and somewhat bigger around than the ones of today.

I remember the slogan in the ads was, “Got a Rocket in your pocket?”

My wife said she didn’t recall ever seeing one, so she Googled it for me.

It came with a rocket-themed pen stand made out of aluminum (I never had the stand).

But I do remember the darn pen leaked ink and sometimes you got blobs of ink on your paper.

There was an instruction booklet telling you to blow into a hole on top of the pen if it stopped writing.

Also, you were told to hold it like you would a pencil for it to work properly.

The owner’s manual claimed an average writer could get 15 years use without refilling.

Most people sent their pens back for refunds than kept them.

The pen could be sent back to the company to be refilled (don’t know if there was a cost).

Finally, the Reynolds Co. went out of business.

It was about the same time Parker invented its ballpoint pen and refills and, of course, the rest is history.

Old rack pat Charlie wishes he still had his “Rocket in his Pocket.”

Recently, I read in the paper an article about vintage wallpapers coming back.

This brought to mind as a kid I could remember having our living room wallpapered by a hanger and, if I remember, it was old Doc Sampson’s father, Wendell, who lived in a trailer on East Division Street, down by the Mill Pond.

As I recall, he had a scaffleboard stretched between two step ladders in our empty living room.

He would mix up a pail of wallpaper paste. He cut off the roll of paper the right size for the wall, dip one of his large brushes in the pail and spread it on the blank side of the pretty flowered paper design.

Then he started from the ceiling, putting it on the wall down to the one-foot wooden baseboard at the floor.

Then, using a fairly large wide, dry brush, he would brush the sheet he was putting on the wall, making it flat with no crinkles.

He used another step ladder while doing this procedure.

When it came to doing the ceiling, I don’t recall how one man did it, but it had to be somewhat tricky.

There must have been other wallpaper hangers in the 1930s, as a lot of houses then had plastered walls.

I can recall helping my folks soak the old wallpaper off the wall by scraping it off with a putty knife to get the wall ready for the paper hanger.

I wonder if you would have trouble finding a paper hanger these days?

I do remember how we used to clean the wallpaper with a cleaner (pink, like dough). It took the dirt off caused by our old coal stove. We did this a few times before we had to repaper.

When my wife read this article before I sent it in, she said her grandmother used to give her pieces of old wallpaper samples. She used them to make dresses for her dolls.

She also said Adolf Hitler was a paper hanger.



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