Victorian Pencil, Nickel plated,19th Century, Propelling mechanism, Hexagonal, with citrine stone set in the terminal Screw off terminal for spare leads.
Length 7.4 cm open 4.4 cm closed
Victorian Lead Designations
Many old pencil makers such as Mordan, Baker and others and especially in England and Europe used a letter designation to indicate the diameter of the lead used. There was no standard for this, so it's always best to try and spec out your lead diameter with an electronic micrometer or calliper.
AM = 1.5mm
H = 0.80mm
M = 1.0mm
VS = 1.5mm
W = 2.0mm
Lead diameter M = 1.0mm
The earliest pencils, such as the Mordans, are simple, propelling pencils. The lead is manually pushed down a tube of matching diameter and is friction fit. A small rod inside pushes the lead forward, as needed, usually with a twist action mechanism. When done writing, the user twists the mechanism in reverse, and manually pushes the lead back down into its socket.
Some of these pencils are simple, some are fancy. With lead-storage compartments, erasers hidden inside the finial, or even finial-mounted engraved jewels, there was something for every income level. But until the early 20th century, they were generally all just plain, propelling pencils.