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How pencils are made.
September 27, 2007 4:29 AM   Subscribe

How pencils are made. (Note: Link leads to a 55MB, 5.09min video, produced by Staedtler.)
posted by Effigy2000 (43 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting; thanks for posting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:43 AM on September 27, 2007


They still make pencils?
posted by Pollomacho at 4:47 AM on September 27, 2007


They still make pencils?

Well, yeah, Poolio. Little kids gotta have something sharp and pointy that they can run with!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:53 AM on September 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


If you like this, you'll like one of the more interesting shows on basic cable is called "How It's Made."
posted by Dave Faris at 4:54 AM on September 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


They still make pencils?

Obviously, you didn't watch the video. They still hatch pencils.
posted by eriko at 4:55 AM on September 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


...one of the more interesting shows on basic cable is called "How It's Made."

They still make basic cable?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:56 AM on September 27, 2007


"Hot dog", as Fred Dinenage taught me.
posted by cillit bang at 5:00 AM on September 27, 2007


They still make "hot dogs"?
posted by RavinDave at 5:01 AM on September 27, 2007


They still make "hot dogs"?

Sure! Out of pencil shavings!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:03 AM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


How It's Made is incredible. I don't know how the anouncer manages to remain in the same calm monotone for the duration of the show even when saying lines like, "Then the operator places the flanged metal casing into the flanged casing press."
posted by Pollomacho at 5:07 AM on September 27, 2007


You know who else made pencils?

That's right - Henry David Thoreau.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:16 AM on September 27, 2007


Why would they not still make pencils?

How It's Made is like the exact opposite of those Beyond 2000-type shows that promise flying cars and jetpacks "in 5 to 10 years" but then you never hear about them again. Why are there no shows that are realistic without being deadly boring?
posted by DU at 5:23 AM on September 27, 2007


And by "deadly boring" I of course mean "hypnotic, but kind of rotely empty".
posted by DU at 5:27 AM on September 27, 2007


I, Pencil.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:28 AM on September 27, 2007


Why are there no shows that are realistic without being deadly boring?

Yes, this movie *was* deadly boring.

However, I desperately want to go out and buy myself a shitload of Staedler pencils. Not some cheap Chinese crap, mind. I want some of those Mars Ergosoft, made with an ergonomic, triangular shape and a high graphite content so that it leaves heavy black marks on the page.

Of course, I've got no use for a pencil, but that's beside the point. If you were a Staedler shop and you were in my street, I'd be kicking down your door in an attempt to get at those pencils. I mean, how can something that's so well manufactured and a design classic be so damned inexpensive?

In fact, I think I should buy the Staedler factory, crank up the price to $10 apiece, and call them iPencil. They'd be the Moleskine story for the next decade. I mean, was there ever a more elegant, more reliable communication device ever designed? Everyone from Leonardo Da Vinci to Adolf Hitler used this iconic technology. They hold a charge for months on end, and are genuinely mobile -- unlike most modern replacements, which are usually heavier and the batteries expire at the last minute.

iPencil: Your life will not be complete until you own one.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:40 AM on September 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm waiting til next year's iPencil, though. It's gonna blow the current iPencil outta the water.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:45 AM on September 27, 2007


I heard next year's iPencil is coming bundled with eRaser
posted by twine42 at 6:04 AM on September 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


I heard next year's iPencil is coming bundled with eRaser

and they sync perfectly with your tablet or desktop!
posted by geos at 6:14 AM on September 27, 2007


Thanks for the pencils video - like Peter, I find myself compelled to buy them at once - and for the How's It Made? link. I have no sound on my machine in work, but perhaps that helps with these as I just found them hypnotic, relaxing and thought provoking. I suppose I, like many others, never really thought about toothpicks being made.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 6:23 AM on September 27, 2007


Flashing back to Picture-Picture.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:25 AM on September 27, 2007


and they sync perfectly with your tablet or desktop!

Surely they'd float.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:25 AM on September 27, 2007


Industrial automation is so elegantly beautiful.
posted by noble_rot at 6:27 AM on September 27, 2007




iPencil and eRaser. Thanks, that made my day. Now who's gonna come clean off the coffee I just spewed all over my monitor?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:34 AM on September 27, 2007


Of course, I've got no use for a pencil

Except for the eye poking. Because I don't really have much use for a sharp stick these days, if I'm going to poke somebody in the eye with a sharp object, a pencil has got to be the next best thing.

Also, it's protected under the British Constitution. We may not have the right to bear arms, but by God we *do* have the right to bear pencils, and it's every Englishman's patriotic duty to own a pencil, to teach their children how to use and sharpen a pencil, and to use it to write angry letters to the newspapers and to our MP's when government tyranny becomes overwhelming.

Join your local branch of the NPA, or find out more about their activities here.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:01 AM on September 27, 2007


Awesome video...watched it my fourteen year old and she was as impressed as I was.

Makes want to go out and buy a box of Staedtler pencils.

I use pencils everyday.
posted by rmmcclay at 7:11 AM on September 27, 2007


Is there anyplace with tons of good videos like this? My 4-year old loves to watch them (especially the Mr Rogers factory tours). YouTube has some factory stuff but the video quality there is pretty poor.
posted by antipasta_explosion at 7:26 AM on September 27, 2007


Wow, I totally want to go out and buy some pencils now.

Question, though. At the end, it showed great-grandpa Staedtler hand making pencils - what was he wrapping around the pencil and gluing down with wax, and why?
posted by arcticwoman at 8:10 AM on September 27, 2007


iPencil: Your life will not be complete until you own one.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:40 AM on September 27 [1 favorite +] [!]


I'm going to wait to buy mine, though, because you'll just drop the price in a couple of weeks.
posted by jennaratrix at 9:09 AM on September 27, 2007


They still make videos about making things? Things tha Hitler used? Can't the navy spend $600,000 and make them in different shapes?
posted by blue_beetle at 9:34 AM on September 27, 2007


Sorry guys, there's already a hipster pencil: The Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602.

*goes back to gnawing on his Sanford Ebony distractedly*
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:40 AM on September 27, 2007


This website links to How It's Made videos on YouTube. If that's not good enough quality, just look at your TV listings for Discovery Channel (everyone gets it) and Science Channel (may be on digital cable/satellite) It's on about 3 hours a day.
posted by ALongDecember at 10:35 AM on September 27, 2007


Finally, an opportunity to express my hatred for (the person responsible for casting) the announcers on How It's Made! (On preview, it's apparent they've very smartly redubbed it for American audiences. The original Canadian version is just god-awful.) The guy, Mark Tewksbury, a former Olympic swimmer, must have inhaled some chlorine at some point; it's a terrible hoarse voice he's got. And as for the woman -- first off, she's practically yelling the whole time, and on top of that she over-annunciates every single syllable. In one episode she keeps referring to a kiln as a killin', but I guess someone pointed it out, since in later installments that's been corrected. Both of them read like they're giving a grade 6 oral report.

Hey, does anyone else remember that crayon factory stuff from Sesame Street?
posted by Reggie Digest at 10:41 AM on September 27, 2007


Of course, I've got no use for a pencil

Except for the eye poking. Because I don't really have much use for a sharp stick these days, if I'm going to poke somebody in the eye with a sharp object, a pencil has got to be the next best thing.


Essentially a pencil is a sharpened stick with its own ingenious system to supply it with a constant supply of graphite lubrication. What could be better for eye poking?
posted by Pollomacho at 10:53 AM on September 27, 2007


[Tasteful, but NSFW:]

Wanna see what you can do with pencils?
posted by RavinDave at 11:31 AM on September 27, 2007


Outstanding! I dig the picture-picture aspect of this I've used Staedtler pencils on and off during my illustrious career, and find them quite suitable illustration pencils. Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602's are too rich for my blood though. My new favorite is the delightful California Republic Palomino. Do try it if you like to draw, it's smooooove.
posted by Scoo at 11:59 AM on September 27, 2007


Crap. No idea how I screwed up that link. Here it is again.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:42 PM on September 27, 2007


Staedtler (which I now know is pronounced "ShhhhTAYDlair," awesome) has some odd idea about what is commonly known and what isn't.

As far as I'm aware, you'd have to dig pretty deep to find someone who doesn't in fact, know that pencil "lead" is graphite.

And yet, they casually assert that it's commonly known that ShhhhTAYDlair pencil leads are dipped in wax to smooth their passage over the page.

I just wanted to point out that their writer got this exactly backwards.
posted by rusty at 1:35 PM on September 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


And *I* never knew that "graphite" was pronounced "GRAF-it".

Wait, what ... ?
posted by RavinDave at 1:56 PM on September 27, 2007


Pollomacho: "They still make pencils?"

They do. Some people even draw with them.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:49 AM on September 28, 2007


Staedtler blue?

Seriously, though, I enjoyed the video. So much so that I've compiled a list of words used with unusual pronunciation: graphite, ratio, varies, subsequently, ancestors.

As marketing/"how it's made" videos go, this one is excellent.
posted by funkbrain at 11:31 AM on September 28, 2007


For some reason, I now have a strong urge to watch "Hogan's Heros" reruns.
posted by slogger at 2:28 PM on September 28, 2007


I have an obsession with using things up completely and pencils are awsome for that obsession. I don't like to start a new pencil until the last one is a tiny little nubbin. It's fun to write with like that and so satisfying! That is why I HATE mechanical pencils; no finish.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 6:14 PM on September 29, 2007


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