Skip

All Pencils. All the Time.
August 27, 2005 5:31 AM   Subscribe


 
the legendary 602
posted by veryape at 5:46 AM on August 27, 2005


Holy cow. The entry written by Tom Leininger—the review of the Dixon Ticonderoga Classic—is almost painful to read. He's a journalist?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:51 AM on August 27, 2005


Holy cow. The entry written by Tom Leininger—the review of the Dixon Ticonderoga Classic—is almost painful to read. He's a journalist?

The site's a joke.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:56 AM on August 27, 2005


I was sitting in my first journalism class at Western Kentucky University when the professor said we should always carry a pencil with us. He explained that pencils were used for writing. A concept with which few students educated in Kentucky were familar.

"You mean those marks on paper mean something?" asked one of the brighter students.

"Yes," replied the professor. "Those marks on paper are called letters, letters placed next to each other form words, and words are used to make sentences."

"Sentences," I've heard of those, said another student. "My daddy got one for moonshining. Two years. But I don't remember it having anything to do with letters."

At that point, the professor realized that he would have to revise his lesson plan.
posted by three blind mice at 7:25 AM on August 27, 2005


The oldest pencil in existence was found between the walls in a medieval building in Germany, left behind by a carpenter.. roughly hewn pieces of wood and lead used for marking timbers.

I suspect this is the origin, carpenters would be the first users in a pre-literate society who would naturally use wood, and thus perhaps its reputation among the literate elite who prefer ink. Certainly pencils were known in Antiquity as well?
posted by stbalbach at 7:28 AM on August 27, 2005


2B or not 2B, that is the question.

I love it. This complemented my Saturday morning coffee perfectly. Thank you, azul.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:32 AM on August 27, 2005


See also.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:08 AM on August 27, 2005


and I almost never read Hemingway's more adventuresome novels without an American Naturals pencil behind my ear or between my teeth.
it's really funny, thanks for the post
posted by matteo at 8:33 AM on August 27, 2005


It's the kind of revolution you'd want to get behind if only because it's so contrary to modern ideas of security and stylish writing (gel pens, metallic ink, etc.) I always keep a few pencils handy (although most of their erasers have hardened by this point with time and lack of use).
posted by deusdiabolus at 8:38 AM on August 27, 2005


Gimmie a "P"! P
Gimmie a "E"! E
Gimmie a "N"! N
Gimmie a "cIl" I
Gimmie a "S"! S


No, wait. Did I do that right?
posted by Balisong at 8:58 AM on August 27, 2005


Certainly pencils were known in Antiquity as well?

Apparently, the Romans used lead styluses. Graphite came into use in the 16th century.
posted by MrBadExample at 9:00 AM on August 27, 2005


That's a kick-ass site. Thanks, Azul.
posted by pragmatik at 9:11 AM on August 27, 2005


ugh... I hate pencils.

Give me the reliability of a good ballpoint. Pencil smudges vanish after a few years.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:25 AM on August 27, 2005


Anyone remember from grade school those cheapass pencils (some brand sold in supermarkets, I can't remember), that were made with some sort of rubbery wood? They'd break easily and you could hardly get them to sharpen. I saw about ten years ago that those pencils are still on the market. Bastards.

On the other hand some of the best pencils I've seen (at least 10 years ago) were Skilcraft pencils made for the U.S. government.
posted by rolypolyman at 9:36 AM on August 27, 2005


P.S. I think the brand may have been "Fairmont".
posted by rolypolyman at 9:38 AM on August 27, 2005


There's a lot of movement in the pencil industry about moving back to cedar (usually California Incense Cedar), both because of the contraversy over the "rainforest wood" that people had been using for a few years to save money, and because it's just better wood.

You're right, rolypolyman, Skilcraft makes some nice stuff. I wish it were easier to get in public.
posted by pragmatik at 9:40 AM on August 27, 2005


Do you guys really think this is satire??
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:43 AM on August 27, 2005


No.
posted by pragmatik at 9:46 AM on August 27, 2005


I am deeply saddened at the lack of ratings for use with Grade School Pencil Break competitions.
posted by Stan Chin at 10:17 AM on August 27, 2005


Ticonderogas have always been my favorite, so the article automatically piqued my interest. I take them whenever they are given out for free. Not that I don't think they are worth spending money on, just that I usually use my Parker jotters.

I remember in HS when California instituted the new standardized STAR test where schools are actually held accountable for the students' scores. My teacher who proctored the test told us, along with the usual sleep and eat well, that the school actually tested different brands of pencils to see which one writes and erases the best and that we will be using those for the test. Test day came and I was excited. I had my faith in Ticonderogas. How can any other brand take its place? When the pencils were passed out, it didn't have the expected yellow and green. Needless to say, I was disappointed and indignant. My only consolation for myself is that they must not have entered Ticonderogas in their testing. I guess that's one thing I'll never find out.

How that relates to this? I have no idea...besides it being a pencil story. Fine. I'm going to go pack now.
posted by state fxn at 11:35 AM on August 27, 2005


The world needs more pencil stories. Truly. I'm dead serious.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:21 PM on August 27, 2005


Rolypolyman - Sad to say, but I am fairly certain that Industries for the Blind no longer manufactures the SkilCfraft pencils for the US government. Instead IFB imports them from, you guessed it, China. Although I can say it was really interesting to see the pencil facility with the blind workers operating all that equipment.
posted by WoodChuck at 12:30 PM on August 27, 2005


" The world needs more pencil stories."
I concur. I especially like the ones about pieces of graphite that people carry around under their skin for decades.
posted by pragmatik at 3:40 PM on August 27, 2005


Not to put too fine a point on it, but necessity is the mother of invention:

Antique Mechanical Pencil Sharpeners

The typical design we use today has been around for about 90 years, but one of these l'il shavers on your desk would be a lot more impressive.
posted by cenoxo at 3:54 PM on August 27, 2005


"Not to put too fine a point on it..."

Hahaha. Hohoho!
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:07 PM on August 27, 2005


" The world needs more pencil stories."
I concur. I especially like the ones about pieces of graphite that people carry around under their skin for decades.


You mean this pencil story?
posted by WoodChuck at 5:11 PM on August 27, 2005


And, with a grateful nod to Apple's Mac II, let us not forget the most graphic graphite movie of all:

Pencil Test
posted by cenoxo at 6:30 PM on August 27, 2005


Cenoxo, thank you for the movie. (And speaking as one who has a bit of graphite under the skin of one's palm, welcome, WoodChuck!)
posted by of strange foe at 8:35 PM on August 27, 2005


Ethereal Bligh : "Do you guys really think this is satire??"

The post in question: "The eraser works well. And they can write on napkins. What more could one ask for? For one thing, these are right handed pencils, I am left-handed. So, all of the printing is upside down when I am writing."

Yeah, I really think it's satire.
posted by Bugbread at 9:02 PM on August 27, 2005


Ok, maybe not satire, but humor (can't think of who is being satirized, and I believe satire requires a target). Regardless, it is not a serious article.
posted by Bugbread at 9:23 PM on August 27, 2005


I have a chunk under my wrist that's been there for a decade and a half. I joke that it's a graphite tatoo.
posted by pragmatik at 9:23 PM on August 27, 2005


Bugbread: good point.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:37 PM on August 27, 2005


but after going and looking at it again, I'm still not convinced
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:40 PM on August 27, 2005


I especially like the ones about pieces of graphite that people carry around under their skin for decades.

Goodness, I just realised that the little graphite chunk on the back of my left hand has been there for 11 years. (No great story, a schoolfriend just stabbed me witha pencil for a laugh.)

Also, hello veryape, fancy meeting you here!
posted by jack_mo at 3:52 PM on August 28, 2005


Love pencils and pictures of pretty pencil points, though I'm not a purist - mechanical pencils get the job done too, sometimes better than the real thing and with less risk of getting hurt. The tip of one special Ticonderoga is embedded at the base of my ring finger. It'll be 18 years this fall.

Faerie pencils - "Handcrafted Twig Pens and Pencils - the kind of pencil a fairy would use!"
posted by PY at 3:12 AM on August 29, 2005


I use pencils everyday. Contractors pencils, #2, watercolors, even white chauk pencils.

I bought a nice pocketknife to sharpen them.

$145 for a knife to sharpen 5000+ pencils. Pretty good investment!
posted by Balisong at 8:44 PM on August 29, 2005


Balisong, what kind of knife is that? Do you have a photo? I've seen special knives for pastel pencils, but this sounds more useful to me:)
posted by pragmatik at 10:32 AM on August 30, 2005


« Older Let S be the set of all sets that don't contain...   |   Panoramic Louvre Museum Photos Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post