I’m just writing a quick post to share this funky vintage gem I found at the local Goodwill store: the Berol Premier Vacuhold APSCO sharpener!
It was almost like it was communicating with me telepathically. I originally passed it up on the office supply aisle (my favorite aisle, obviously) but I just had a certain feeling that I needed to go back and look underneath a random pile of junk. So I did, and…voila!
The Berol Premier Vacuhold is kind of like a throwback version of the XACTO sharpener I reviewed recently. What impresses me about the vintage Berol sharpener is that it is all metal. Like heavy steel. Man, those really were different times. You could use this thing to ward off a home invader; it would definitely take out a few teeth.
I am not sure what era this is from. There are numerous examples for sale on antique websites (I scored when I bought this thing for $2.99!), but none that I’ve found dare venture a guess as to its date of manufacture. I did find one for sale on Etsy that said it was from the 1970’s; I have no idea how they determined that, but it seems like at least a reasonable guess. It looks pretty 70’s. I believe that by the mid-1990s the Berol trademark had been phased out, except for in the UK, and odds are that this thing didn’t “cross the pond” just to wind up in an Anchorage thrift store. Anyway, I’m sure that the series of mega-mergers that eventually delivered the Berol brand to the Rubbermaid conglomerate, of all companies, wouldn’t carry on making something like a pencil sharpener completely out of steel. The 1970’s or early 80’s seem like a good bet, all things considered.
Either way, it feels VERY nostalgic. This is a lot like the type we had when I was in elementary school, except for those ones were usually hard-mounted to a bookcase or something, and had a rotating pencil-size guide instead of the rabbit ear style clamp.
It seems to sharpen without much of a fuss, except it’s noisy as hell. However, it left the tip of this poor Cedar Pointe pencil sharpened way off center! I had to use my little plastic Deli hand-crank sharpener to rescue it. I don’t know if I’m using the Berol sharpener wrong, if the sharpening device has gotten loosey-goosey with age, or if it was just never that great of a sharpener to begin with. I guess I’ll probably keep the Berol Premier sharpener around as more of a decorative antique than a functional sharpener. It looks pretty awesome, though. [Update: I was using it wrong. I didn’t realize it has the slide-out tension guide that other sharpeners have! Duh. Maybe if I use it right, I won’t have that problem. Still, given that it is kind of antiquey and I have 3,548 other pencil sharpeners within reach, I’ll probably keep it as a “functional decoration”.]