If we take a quick look at the Finance Act 1942, we can see that not only were Utility items required to display the CC41 Utility Mark, but they were also exempt from the Purchase Tax that was brought in under the earlier Finance Act.
I did wonder if Utility pencils were exempt, but War Drawing were not, but I’ve see Hansard references where for the purpose of Purchase Tax, both styles were regarded as Utility Goods.
The 1942 No 1265 Direction is an ancillary document to the Pencils (Control of Manufacture and Supply) Order 1942. It sets out the maximum pricing manufacturers could charge retailers.
Clearly there were significant pricing differences between the simple Utility and the higher end War Drawing:
The stamping on the Chambers example for the Utility Black is a touch deeper than the Pencils Limited example:
The Pencils (Maximum Prices) Order, 1942 sets out the maximum pricing requirements for retailers:
Paragraph 2 stipulates that the retailers had to clearly state the maximum prices:
The Schedule sets out a nice comparison between the wholesale and retail pricing for the various models:
The perks of pencil research is being able to do some of the work in amazing buildings such as this:
Whilst the model restrictions didn’t get many headlines, the price restrictions certainly did. The Weekly Dispatch from Sunday 28 June 1942 recorded the consumer pricing and elected to use a nice piece of alliteration in doing so:
The Daily Mirror’s headline was a bit less creative:
A couple of Utility Blue examples. By way of reminder, if it states a colour and doesn’t say ‘copying’ or ‘wax’, its a standard colouring pencil.
The restrictions on model and price applied to all of the UK, including Scotland and Northern Ireland. On 29 June 1942, The Scotsman also reported the restrictions:
The Pencils (Maximum Prices) Order 1944 contains some useful information (I appreciate that there is a lot of reading in many of these extracts, but lets stick with it!):
As we can see from the Schedule, the wholesale price appears to have increased, whereas the retail price appears to have gone down.
Lets take another look at Hansard. On 14 July Utility Goods were discussed in the Commons. Within HC Deb 14 July 1942 vol 381 cc1089-90W, we can see that, for some reason, pencils were selected as one of the first items to be included in the Utility scheme:
It is important to note again that for the purposes of the pricing legislation, the Utility pencils and the War Drawing pencils were both considered Utility Goods.
Before we move on, lets take a quick look at the Pencils (Control of Manufacture and Supply) (No. 2) Order, 1944. Not much new added to the overall rules, with the exception of stipulating that an invoicing regime was now mandatory.