Buckminster Skeeter: Wanna buy a watch?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Little Known History II

"Woodrow Wilson was nominated for President at the 1912 Democratic Convention and campaigned on a program called the New Freedom, which stressed individualism and states' rights. In the 3 way election he received only 42 percent of the popular vote but an overwhelming electoral vote.
Wilson passed through Congress three major pieces of legislation. The first was a lower tariff, the Underwood Act; attached to the measure was a graduated Federal income tax. The passage of the Federal Reserve Act provided the Nation with the more elastic money supply it badly needed. In 1914 antitrust legislation established a Federal Trade Commission to prohibit unfair business practices."

What the history books don't tell you about is the Great Pencil scandal. Wilson was heavily studied in law but possessed a near-demonic flair for economics and wealth. In 1908 he invested heavily as a silent partner in a company that would produce lead pencils. At the time pencil making was flourishing as new machinery for processing the graphite was evolving. Wilson's company, Standard Pencil, was the only pencil making factory to mix the graphite and clay to create a degree of 2H on the pencil hardness scale. Their sales soared and their profits rose while the competition struggled to maintain it's marketshare.

The only company capable of reproducing Standard's process was the National Pencil Company in Atlanta, GA. The proprietor of NPC was Leo Frank, a somewhat feminine man, married, with a child. National was nearing competition of a superior 2H pencil process that would cut deeply into Standard's profits. With the power of the presidency behind him Wilsons devised a scheme to gain control of National Pencil. In 1913 a young girl, working in the factory, was brutally raped and murdered. A slew of factory employees were detained, questioned, and held as suspects. Days later Frank was arrested for her murder. There was no real evidence submitted by the prosecutors yet the jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to hang. The governor, John Slaton, commuted the sentence. Within a day a crowd of unknown people stormed Frank's house and lynched him in his livingroom. These unknown people were later said to be 'concerned citizens' of the city.

With Frank's death Wilson made a move to buy out the company and gain control of the factory.
He began an industrial coup of the pencil industry that would last 12 presidencies. Upon leaving office Wilson handed control of the company to newly inaugurated Warren G. Harding, who handed it to Coolidge, and so on.

In 1979 Jimmy Carter's rule of the pencil empire took a dramatic leap. He backed a company that manufactured test scoring machines which ran test card through a graphite sensor. These machines were the first of their kind and Carter quickly moved to mandate their use in all government testing centers. The testing machines were designed to only read a graphite-clay ratio equaling 2H on the hardness scale (or a #2). The machine and pencils sales soared and the presidency was bringing in more money than ever. Reagan's era served to squash the quickly advancing Baltic pencil proliferation, the only rival to American pencil production.

George Bush brought a new commodity to the office - oil. He quickly sold off the pencil empire to Saudi Arabia and established oil as the presidential currency.

With plans to run for office in 2008, Hillary Clinton will seek to discontinue the presidential oil business. In it's place will be pharmaceuticals.

4 Comments:

Blogger mugwump said...

Pencils are neat.

5:28 AM  
Blogger mugwump said...

Did my attempt at being a sarcastic bitch fail? I thought the fueding added a little flair to the comments.

Okay, here's my real comment. You did a good job on this. I like little known history. I had no idea any of this happened. The pictures add a lot to it.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Buckminster Skeeter said...

Don't believe everything you read.

2:46 PM  
Blogger mugwump said...

Okay, you got me pretty good if this is a hoax. Some of it didn't quite make sense, but it was believable to a degree. Damn - if you just totally made this up maybe you do deserve a pulitzer prize. And I'm a little frightened of you now too.

3:07 PM  

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