Morris W. Moore invented and patented a design for what would become the retractable-nib "safety pen," and the The American Fountain Pen Company was formed in 1899 to manufacture the pens. In 1917, the name of the company was changed to The Moore Pen Company.
(click on pictures to enlarge)
1. The Original Moore Pencil.
As was the case with so many American pen manufacturers, it wasn't until after the initial success of the Wahl Eversharp metal pencils that Moore felt the need to offer pencils to accompany their pens. The first generation of pencils produced by Moore were invented by John G. Liddell, who applied for a patent for this design on December 14, 1921. Patent number 1,425,871 was granted to Liddel on August 15, 1922. View patent here. Since he is listed as the inventor and assignor to The Moore Pen Company, it appears Liddell was an employee of the company.
Those examples marked "Pat. Pend." were metal pencils like the one on the left. The others in this picture all bear the August 15, 1922 patent date. A couple of these have the word "MOORE" stamped on the metal and just the tops of the letters showing of the "Pat. Aug 15 '22." If you have a Moore pencil of this age that says only "Moore" or has just the top of the next line showing from under the hard rubber, it's the earlier 1922 design.
2. The 1925 Patent improved pencil.
Shortly after the introduction of the first run of Moore pencils, Liddell refined his design and applied for a second patent on May 10, 1924. This second patent, number 1,556,701, was granted on October 13, 1925. View patent here. The remaining pencils in this series all bear that patent date.
I searched the Patent databases for any other inventions by Liddell, and his two pencil patents appear to be all that he received. Interestingly, one of the most recognizable features, the flared bell-top cap with fine detailing around the edge, appears not to have been patented.
Both the 1922 and the 1925 versions are extremely well made and durable. I don't think I've ever seen a broken one.
These came in a wide variety of colors and trim. You can amass quite a collection just picking up 1925 patent Moores.
3. 1925 Patent Military clip models.
In addition to the ringtop models, Moore also produced a small model with a modified verision of "The Moore Clip" (see next frame) built into the top cap. The ring top caps and these caps are interchangeable and the pencils are otherwise identical, so don't pay a premium for one of these just based on the color of the barrel. The caps are the rare part.
4. Full sized 1925 Patent pencils
The other thing that makes early Moores stand out is the unique looped clip, marked "The Moore Clip" within a globe.
Full size early Moores are truly a pleasure to write with, especially the oversize models shown on the right.
5. Later "Moore Clip" pencils
At the outset of the 1930s, Moore streamlined its selection of pens (to resemble the shape of the Streamline Duofolds being produced by Parker), so Moore ceased production of its wonderful early models and began producing middle-joint, rear drive twist pencils.
The company did continue to use its trademark Moore Clip on these models.
The earlier editions, shown on the left, were very high quality with nice trim. The company also produced rear-drive pencils in some spectacular colors (the turquoise and tan is one of my favorites), but without the same quality trim or plating. There aren't many of the golden colored ones left (second from right), because the quality of the celluloid was so poor.
Eventually, the company started producing cheaper nose-drive pencils. With the exception of the Moore clip and the nice filigree band, the pencil on the right looks just like those produced by many other manufacturers.
6. Press Clip Moores
The company abandoned the distinctive Moore Clip during the 1930s and produced more typical pencils for the era. The example at far left is the only "insert clip" example I know of (the clip inserts straight into the barrel and is secured with a screw). All the others are "press clip" (the clip has "ears" that are pressed into the barrel and bent to secure them, like a staple). The two deco-clip models in brown, 2nd and 3rd from left in this picture, are very nice, but all the rest are very bland.
7. As if the company hadn't cheapened its products enough already, Moore introduced an even lower priced line, marked "The Moore Writer" or "The Moore Classic". These were about the same quality as that produced by Wearever.
8. Moore "Mastercraft" Pencils
These appear in both the 1937 and 1942 Pencraft wholesale catalogs, indicating that they were produced for some time. The photos in these catalogs show the variation which is second from right in this photo.
9. Later "Mastercraft" style pencils
The plastics on these are really interesting, as are the deco bands. Although these all share a clip which is similar to the "Mastercraft" line and they are mechanically the same as Mastercrafts inside, these have a plain top rivet and the quality of the plating is not nearly as good.
10. Moore "Speedline" Pencils
The top two examples are consistent with those shown in the 1937 Pencraft Wholesale Catalog, but they do not appear in the 1942 catalog, suggesting they were produced for a shorter period of time.
The two examples on th ebottom share the same clip, but are repeater-style pencils.
10a. The Moore Clutch Pencil
Some Moore clutch pencils were very well made. I was ecstatic a few years ago to find this boxed set, complete with Moore "Topper Leads" and a little box of erasers.
This find was also signficant in discovering a link between Moore in the later days and Eversharp. This pencil bears patent number 2,358,091, which was issued to Charles K. Lovejoy on September 12, 1944. View patent here. The assignee on the patent was Moore, so this design was clearly Moore property.
However, this patent number also shows up (with a typo- the last number was left off) on an idential pencil produced by Eversharp. Since Moore closed in 1956 and Eversharp was sold to Parker in 1957, there must have been a licensing deal between the two companies.
11. The Moore Fingertip
In 1946, the Moore Company introduced its last last unique product line, called the "Fingertip" pen because it sported a nib that looked a lot like a fingernail.
The matching pencils were also a radical departure from the downward spiral in Moore quality. These were an entirely new design, a cap-actuated, clutch-style pencil that was really pretty well made.
Until recently, I thought all the fingertips were in dark solid colors, such as black, maroon, green and navy. I was very surprised to find an example in striped "Mastercraft" celluloid.
Unfortunately, the Fingertip pen wasn't well received and failed to revitalize the dying company. Moore finally closed its doors in 1956.