Thursday, January 21, 2016

Eversharp Pencil and Pen Factory

Mike Franklin comment on Barry Love posting
Charles Rood Keeran obtained his patent for what we now call a mechanical pencil on March 9, 1915. He signed a contract with the Wahl Adding Machine Company of Chicago to manufacture Eversharp pencils. Wahl also entered the pen business by buying Boston Fountain Pen Company.
It remained a major player throughout the 1940s, but a series of missteps in its attempts to enter the then-new field of ballpoint pens hurt the company badly. In 1957 the Parker Pen Company acquired Eversharp. The Eversharp name was used for a time, but within a few years the production of Eversharp pens and pencils had come to an end.
1938 Aerial Photo by ILHAP
(Wikipedia)  Barry Love is researching the usage of the building since they offered it for sale in 1948. Charles G. Koenig commented that he used to work there in the early 1960s when "it was a sort center at Christmas for the post office."

Even though it was right next to the C&NW tracks, it looks like it was never served by rail. It was surrounded by residential buildings.

During the depression the neighborhood fell on hard times. By 1970, homes built by workers at Riverview Amusement Park were selling for $20,000. Community organizations were created to address gang crime. "By the mid-1970s, both suburban and city residents were beginning to rediscover the solid housing stock and convenient transportation of the Village. The area began to attract “urban pioneers” who bought two-flats here specifically to fix them up, restore them to their former glory, and to live in them. In 1990, the purchase and condominium conversion of the Eversharp Building, better known as the “pencil factory” at 1800 West Roscoe Street, caught the attention of the whole City." "This lit a fire under housing and development in the Village, and property values rose dramatically. Buildings that sold for $20,000 in 1971 were now selling for up to $400,000, and by 2000 a few were listing as high as $800,000." [RoscoVillage]

1 comment:

  1. My mom used to work in a factory nearby the huge Eversharp building. As a kid I remember being fascinated by the sprawling structure, the super tall smokestack and the water towers on top of the building. I'm pretty sure there were 2 water towers but I know that for a long time one of them had been removed and just the skeletal structure remained. Would love to see photos of that building as I remember it.