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Martin, Engineer
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Where can I find detailed information about the first pencil

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Where can I find detailed information about the first pencil sharpener, invented by Thierry des Estwaux in Paris in 1847 please ?
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Thanks for your question.

I am happy to help you out.

Can you let me know a bit more about what you are interested in and why you need it.

That way I can provide you with a more meaningful answer.

For example, would you like for me to direct you to a few website that talk about the pencil sharpener?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for trying so far to answer my question.

No, I do not need references to websites about the pencil sharpener; I have gone through an exhaustive number already, and none (NONE !) of them gives any information beyond what I have included in my question.


My specific interest is in the words "Waree a Paris" engraved on a pencil sharpener I own. The device dates 1847 or maybe 1848. I have tried French dictionaries to work out what "Waree" might mean. I think it is either the past participle of a verb, or the name of a person or a manufactory in Paris. There my knowledge, or imagination, ends !


The device is, incidentally, the very first form of the hand-held "twist" pencil sharpener as we now know it. I should expect a french science museum for example to know how to find more information about it.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
You can a picture of the device on the website by clicking on "small sharpeners". The version shown there is dated 1851, and is a slightly later version than mine, being the version registered for sale in England in 1851. The words "Waree a Paris" have been dropped, and the name "Marion" engraved on the device instead.
I don't know the absolute truth about that item, but here is my theory. The item was sold (and perhaps also manufactured) by "Papeterie Marion". Marion is a French name (usually the name of a girl if not a family name, as in Marion Cotillard the French actress). A "papeterie" (from "paper") is a store where you can buy paper, envelopes and different office supply.

I natively speak French so i can tell you "waree" is not French at all. I think what we see here is an early engrish case. The "a" in "Waree a Paris" mean "at" as in "made at Paris" or "made in Paris". So the good word should be "ware" as in "Paris ware" (manufactured item made in Paris).
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hello Martin

Thank you for your reply.

I think the device I own is not only the french version, manufactured (sometime after 1847) in Paris as you suggest, but also intended to be sold either in France or marketed abroad direct from France.

I assume you mean the word "Waree" is a french verb, as distinct from its being a french name ?

"Brevete SGDG" is short for "Brevete Sans Garantie Du Gouvernement". This was a disclaimer by the french government stating that it does not guarantee enforcement of the claimed patent. Cette mention a ete etablie par la loi de 1844, et celle-ci a disparu en 1968.

The version of the device made for sale in Britain (sometime after 1851) bore the words "Registered 5 September 1851", with the packet is was sold in quoting the Act of Parliament Act 6 & 7 Vic c. 65.


You have helped me carry my research a little bit further forward; thank you very much.

This is a device that any french person should be very proud of having been invented by a fellow countryman. The 'taille-crayon' used now perhaps in every country in the world is derived directly from the design of this original version.


The Papeterie Marion was owned by A. Marion & CoXXXXX(i assume in London). Looking at past commercial history around this, it seem there was lot of companies with French names. For example, this might be the same company: . It's possible the item was imported from France (Paris) and sold at that 152 regent outlet in London.

About the verb part, i think it should be a verb going there but waree is not a French word. If you wanted to make a verb (or an adjective) in French meaning "made into a ware", it would be waré (but that is a made up word).
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hello Martin

Thanks for this extra information.

I like your idea that the word Waree could be understood in the sense of meaning "made". However, the problem (!!!) that I have with your advice that the word "waree" is not a french word is that it means the phrase "WAREE A PARIS" becomes a hybrid, with Waree (not french), a (french) and Paris (presumably french version.


An alternate problem arises if we consider waree as a french word, maybe now obsolete to reconcile this proposal with your advice that it is not french !
If waree is a french adjective or verb participle, then it needs an acute accent on the first "e". The second "e" would be needed if taille-crayon is feminine; I don't know what gender it takes in french ! As the entire wording on my device is WAREE A PARIS BREVETE SGDG, and as the final "e" in Brevete distinctly carries an acute accent, whilst the first "e" in waree clearly carries no accent, I guess we can dismiss its being a verb or adjective because of this inconsistency.


The only remaining alternative is that in fact Waree was the name of a person or manufacturing company in Paris ! This is an attractive conclusion, as a name gives one an opportunity for more research.


I have taken a lot of your time; however, you will have an intuition about the use of the word waree on a french object that I cannot apply as a person whose mother tongue is English. Do you have any more ideas on the possibility of the word waree's being a name, rather than a verb or adjective ?


Many thanks for your help so far.



As a name i can only find reference to Thailand (not something probable in those years). Yes ée would mean feminine, sharpener is masculine but invention is feminine. Another detail, the "a" i mentioned as "in" or "at" would need to be "à" to denote a location. I looked for waree as an acronym and found nothing. I looked for similar item syntax with "a paris brevete sgdg" and found

for "Casimir Lefaucheux". I don't know if it's a company name or an inventor name in that case. I found other such item but as names and company names and inventor names were very similar back then it's hard to figure out.

Edited by Martin on 12/9/2010 at 12:00 PM EST
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Experience: i'm 41 and i never stopped studying and experimenting
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