PENCILS as advertised in the Pennsylvania Gazette

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In response to the question about could a F&I war solider have carried a pencil, I searched PA Gazette archives from 1728 to 1783 for the word “pencils” and found 246 occurrences of the word. There were also another 48 occurrences of “pencil” but most of them were part of the term “pencil case.” 

Examination of these entries revealed that the term “Pencils” could refer to lead pencils, pencils for writing on slate (AKA SLATE PENCILS) or small camel hair brushes (these were often offered to coach makers for pen striping, etc.). 

Below there are abstracts from a few selections spanning from 1774 back to 1742 with some other items of interest also shown in bold type.

 ITEM #55273  April 27, 1774
The Pennsylvania Gazette

BENJAMIN JANUARY, BOOKBINDER AND STATIONER, …carries on the bookbinding business in all its branches, and where merchants, shopkeepers, and others, may be supplied with all sorts of account books, made and ruled to any pattern, at the lowest prices. He likewise has for sale, … quills, sealing wax, wafers, pewter ink stands, slates, black lead pencils, American and British ink powder;…

ITEM #54327  November 10, 1773
The Pennsylvania Gazette

Just imported in the last vessels from London and Bristol, and to be sold by DAVID DESHLER, At his store, …gun locks; ivory and horn combs; temple and common spectacles; sheep shears; bricklayers and plaisterers trowels; curry combs; black lead pencils; sawmill files; half round and flat ditto; three square and round ditto; blacksmiths rasps; marking irons; candlesticks; brass garnishing nails; tobacco boxes; fine and coarse brass wire; rat traps; snuffers; Dutch scythes and sickles; cutting knives; gun barrels; copper and iron tea kettles; …

ITEM #54040  September 29, 1773
The Pennsylvania Gazette

…THE BUSINESS IS NOW CONTINUED BY Christopher, jun. and Charles Marshall, At the Old Drug and Colour Store,… which their Customers may depend on being supplied with on the lowest and best Terms: Amongst which are … DRUGS, CHYMICAL and GALENICAL MEDICINES, … PATENT MEDICINES, … PAINTERS COLOURS, of most Kinds, …Brushes, Tools, Camels Hair, and Black Lead Pencils, Indian Ink, Stone and Pallet Knives, Prepared Canvas for Limners, of several Sizes, Linseed Oil raw and boiled, Spirits of Turpentine, Varnishes of different Kinds, particularly an Oil Varnish, fit for Coaches, &c.

ITEM #53134  May 5, 1773
The Pennsylvania Gazette

… has just imported,…from LONDON, a general assortment of BOOKS and STATIONARY; among which are, … tortoiseshell penknives, black and red lead pencils, square and round pewter inkstands, sand and pounce boxes, letter files, sealing wax and wafers, slates, quills, and ink powder; all sorts of writing paper, and blank books of all sizes. 

ITEM #42609  June 2, 1768
The Pennsylvania Gazette

PRINTING, Performed in a neat and correct Manner, by JOHN DUNLAP, …Writing Paper, Quills, Ink Powder, black Lead Pencils, Playing Cards, Fuller and Bonnet Pasteboard, Blank Bonds, Powers of Attorney, Bills of Sale, Penal Bills, Bills of Lading, Apprentices and Servants Indentures, &c.

ITEM #40984  September 3, 1767
The Pennsylvania Gazette

JAMES REYNOLDS, Carver and Gilder, …has imported in the Britannia, Captain Jefferies, … best varnishes of all kinds, English glue, painting brushes, camel and fitch hair pencils for coach painters and gilders, leaf gold, 3 and 3 8ths, at 4 shillings per book, … 

ITEM #39512  January 8, 1767
The Pennsylvania Gazette

…Likewise they have just imported, A large assortment of blank books for merchants accounts, gilt, black edge and plain writing paper of several sizes, best Dutch and English sealing wax, Dutch office quills and pens, ivory pounce boxes and pounce, slate books adapted to the pocket, and very useful for those concerned in shipping, ivory memorandum books, black and red lead pencils of sundry sizes, pewter ink stands, blotting, cartridge and blue paper, …

ITEM #37046  October 31, 1765
The Pennsylvania Gazette

BINDS all Sorts of Books, in the neatest manner, gilt or
plain; where Merchants, Shopkeepers and others; may have all
Sorts of Account Books made and ruled to any Pattern, at the
lowest Prices. He likewise sells …Writing Paper,
Wagers and Sealing Wax, Slates and Pencils, Inkstands and
Glasses, Clark Leather Ink Cases, Letter Files, Pocket
Books, pencil Cases, black and red Lead Pencils, Ivory
Memorandum Books, Penknives, Quills, and Pens …

ITEM #30653  April 21, 1763
The Pennsylvania Gazette

N.B. Of said Adams may be had Bibles, Testaments,
Psalters; all Sorts of Spelling books and Primers; Variety of
Histories, Novels and Plays; various Sizes of Account Books,
and Writing Paper; Sealing Wax and Wafers; Ink and Ink powder;
Black lead Pencils; all Sorts of Blank Bonds and Indentures;
extraordinary good Lampblack, &c. ---- And by whom will be
given the highest Price for clean Linen Rags. 

ITEM #28698  June 3, 1762
The Pennsylvania Gazette

Imported in the last Vessels from London, and sold by DAVID
HALL, At the New Printing Office in Market street,
Philadelphia, A LARGE and well chosen Assortment of Paper
Hangings. Writing Paper of all Sorts, by the Ream, or lesser
Quantity; embossed and marbled Paper; English Pasteboard, Parchment, Quills, Pens, Sealing Wax and Wafers; neat Cases of
Pocket Instruments; Scales and Dividers; Slates and Slate
; Penknives; …Black Lead Pencils, Fountain Pens, &c.&c.

ITEM #26273  March 19, 1761
The Pennsylvania Gazette

JAMES HAM, Mathematical and Optical Instrument maker, …sells all Sorts of Mathematical and Optical Instruments, … neatly and completely
fitted for all their different Uses in the several Branches of
the Mathematicks, as Theodolites, Circumferences, neatly
silvered, with Balls, Socket and Staff compleat, in Cases,… Brass and Ivory Protractors, Brass, Ivory and Box Surveying Foot Scales, Ditto
six Inches, Brass, Ivory and Box parallel Rulers, Brass
Dividers, with Drawing Pens, common Ditto large and small, two
and four Pole Surveying Chains, … best black
Lead Pencils for Drawing
, …

ITEM #14864  October 12, 1752
The Pennsylvania Gazette

Just imported from London, and to be sold by JOSEPH SIMS, … black lead pencils, sealing wax, … shoe buckles, gamblets, padlocks, spring stock locks, hand saws, cutlary, tin plates, iron and brass wire, shot, 3d and 4d nails, frying pans,

ITEM #10205  January 3, 1749
The Pennsylvania Gazette

Philadelphia, January 3. 1748-9.

To be sold by THOMAS LLOYD, two doors below the widow Roberts's Coffee house, Sugar, melasses, and variety of fowling pieces, fine broadcloths, … sealing wax, wafers in small boxes, large and small black lead pencils, writing paper, and ink powder,…

ITEM #5323  September 16, 1742
The Pennsylvania Gazette

NOTICE is hereby given, THAT William Bradford, jun. has set up a NEW PRINTING OFFICE, in the House that Mr. ANDREW BRADFORD formerly lived, in Second Street, where PRINTING is done at the most reasonable Rates: Where may be had,…Blank Bonds, Bonds and Judgement, Arbitration Bonds, Powers of Attorney, Servant's Indentures, Bills of Lading, fine Temple and other Sorts of Spectacles, Sealing Wax, Ink Powder, brass and leather Ink Pots, Writing Paper of sundry Sorts, lead Pencils, Pocket Books, Blank Books, Dividers, Gunter Scales, Parchment, &c. …