Date of this Version
The Autopoint company was founded around 1920 in Chicago. The founders pioneered using molded plastic to make mechanical pencils. In the mid1920s, the Bakelite Corporation took over ownership of Autopoint. Over the next 40 years Autopoint had several different corporate owners, but it continued to operate as a stand-alone company with its own officers, employees, manufacturing plant, sales force, etc. Around 1970, the situation changed radically, Gillette bought Autopoint and integrated it with it’s Paper Mate division. Manufacture and management was transferred to Paper Mate facilities and personnel.
This is a catalog issued during the period of ownership by Gillette. Apparently, this was intended for use by sales personnel in the field since only the brand name is identified, but no company name or address is mentioned.
Comparison of this catalog with ones from the 1950s and 60s shows that Paper Mate greatly simplified the product line retaining only a few of the bestselling items. They also added a few new products, such as the pen and pencil set shown on Page 11. Paper Mate also changed the descriptions of lead sizes from fractions of an inch to metric measurements.
.036 inch (“Real Thin”) lead became .9mm lead
.045 inch (“Standard”) lead became 1.1mm lead
.076 inch (“Thick”) lead was dropped
It is not apparent from this catalog, but examination of the pencils produced shows that Paper Mate reengineered the pencils. They retained the basic external appearance of the pencils while making many parts interchangeable between the various models of pencils. For example, the tips on the “Twinpoint” pencils became interchangeable with the “Slim Utility Pencils” and the “Slim Deluxe Pencils.” For that reason, the various parts of most pencils produced earlier are not interchangeable with similar parts of the redesigned pencils.