In over 1700 color photos and 145 patent drawings, along with an informative text, this book introduces readers to a wide range of mechanical pencils. Included among them are well known examples created by what the author defines as the "big four" of American pencil manufacturers--Autopoint, Eagle Pencil Company, Eversharp (Wahl Eversharp), and Sheaffer--as well as rarely seen models and unusual variations. Explore mechanical pencil history from 1851 to the late 1970s and the various mechanisms made to move and lock lead in place. Also included is a startling chapter on trick pencils. These compact wonders, first documented in a mid-nineteenth century patent, provide a wide range of extra features with clever attachments, including magnets, lighters, penknives, rubber stamps, and sheets of writing paper hidden in the shaft. Also included are suggested values for many of the mechanical pencils displayed and discussed. For anyone with a passion for American ingenuity and technological innovation on the small scale, this book is for you.