Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pencil Sharpener Knockoffs

Here’s another horse on a different kind of base:

Mint in Box, even! Here’s a picture of the back to show you why this is Breyer-related:

The horse itself - a knockoff the Hartland Tinymite Morgan, in this case - is about half the size of a standard Stablemate.

I vaguely remember these sharpeners when they were new, ca. 1976; they were a part of the glut of antique-looking dime store merchandise manufactured to capitalize on the Bicentennial. There was a huge range of sharpeners, usually in the shape of something old or antiquated like a treadle sewing machine, gramophone, steamboat, or coffee grinder.

These sharpeners are still pretty plentiful both online and offline, though finding a boxed item is unusual. This was a little bit before people started obsessing over keeping their collectibles Mint in Box. Some of these might have actually been used as - gasp! - actual pencil sharpeners!

This one was definitely kept as a "collectible", as it was one of several pieces in a nice-sized collection at the flea market. This is the only one I bought because it was the only horse-shaped one the dealer had. Some of the nonhorse ones were kind of cute, but saw no reason to get into pencil sharpener collecting beyond the model horse knockoffs.

I’m assuming that the manufacturer decided to appropriate these molds to represent an antique horse figurine of some sort: a bookend, a pull toy, or a doorstop. The molds that were copied were far from antiques, though: the G1 Morgan Stallion and Thoroughbred Mare were just released in plastic the year before.

Hartland Tinymites were discontinued a few years earlier, but I suspect the manufacturer might have copied him from the Hong Kong knockoffs that could have still been available at the time. These sharpeners were made in Hong Kong, too, so they might have even had an example already in hand.  

Of course, the only other sharpener I had in my knockoff collection was also the Tinymite Morgan. It’s an excellent upgrade, at least!

If Reeves is looking into another way of repurposing Stablemates into a quasi-useful object, pencil sharpeners might be a fun alternative to another keychain.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Oh, that's neat to see what these look like packaged! I have the Breyer Morgan sharpener but I also have a freestanding version of the Hartland as well. I've had them sinceI was a little kid (80s) but darned if I can recall how I got 'em.