The Humdinger - Extraordinary Quality
April 28, 2014 8:01 AM   Subscribe


I love seeing the different points that people have put on them, especially the whittled points and the short pencils. How much characer there is in them. Evidence of the hands that have held them.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:15 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Have pencils gone the way of the buggy whip?

Serious question. I couldn't tell you the last time I used a pencil. Maybe for a standardized bubble test in college?

It's amazing how much detail there is in the humble pencil's history. I like that embossed moon face on the Staedtler pencils.
posted by jillithd at 8:24 AM on April 28, 2014

Unsharpened Ticonderogas make the world's best back scratchers.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 8:28 AM on April 28, 2014

Confession: This page had the effect of looking at food pictures before lunch for me. I reached out to the one wooden pencil I have on my desk and sharpened it a little bit (that it didn't need) just so that I could smell it.
posted by seyirci at 8:43 AM on April 28, 2014 [8 favorites]

If I started collecting pencils, there is no doubt it would soon become an obsession/addiction. Soooooo tempting!

(and I have no idea why.. )
posted by HuronBob at 8:56 AM on April 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Me too, also no idea why.. but this is just awesome. Can we get the mods to reopen the Old Man and the C Drive askme so that Fred and Doug's pages can be added?

Here's my one short desk pencil. Also just sharpened for woody graphitey aroma..
posted by Ahab at 9:10 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

I really like a good pencil for some things (like the Sunday NYT puzzle). So many pencils these days have lead that is not centered in the body correctly, so it falls out after sharpening, or breaks shortly after sharpening.
We have a manual, hang-on-the-wall pencil sharpener, and every time I use it, I am transported to my childhood, sharpening a pencil to fine point, while smelling the freshly-ground and pencil lead.
Great post, thanks!
posted by dbmcd at 9:11 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, good, they're only wood pencils and not an extensive collection of lead-holders. Otherwise I would have lost all of my day instead of just most of it.

(And both Germany and Japan are holding on to pencils really damn hard. Behold, the Kitaboshi 2mm wooden lead-holder, and the E + M Maximo Pencil Extender, which is a product that will for at least one person who's reading this thread, maybe even you, suddenly fulfill a lifelong dream they never even knew they had.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:19 AM on April 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

posted by Ahab at 9:32 AM on April 28, 2014

Reminds me of this from an art gallery/weirdospace in Los Angeles.
posted by univac at 9:48 AM on April 28, 2014

Really frustrated that I don't have a pencil nearby to sharpen and sniff.
posted by calamari kid at 9:57 AM on April 28, 2014

I recently bought one of these pencil holders. I honestly don't know how I made it so long without one. It's brilliant. And when I was a kid, it would have been even more useful as I hung on to pencils until they were like tiny little nubs.
posted by chavenet at 10:15 AM on April 28, 2014

I'm disappointed that Artisinal Pencil Sharpening didn't make the related posts list.
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:19 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, did anyone else here play "pencils" in grade school, which involved snapping pencils against each other seeing who could break the other's pencil? A lot of effort was put into this (including sharpening the metal bits after pulling out the erasers), seeking out flexible pencils that snapped better as well as took blows better, and the ne plus ultra, convincing mom there was a real academic need for "Husky" pencils that would snap through the normal ones like butter. Good times (though many pencils were sacrificed).
posted by chavenet at 10:20 AM on April 28, 2014

I always hated those pencils that were made out of compressed sawdust and plastic and whatnot. In fact, I still do.
posted by jquinby at 10:26 AM on April 28, 2014

(Full disclosure: Fred is acknowledged in the back of David Rees's excellent book on the subject, which has been featured here.)
posted by obscurator at 10:32 AM on April 28, 2014

A five minute search of my desk drawer produced about twenty different kinds of pencils. Eberhard Faber, Mirado, Dixon, Faber-Castle, Ticonderoga, Reeves, California Republic, Dragon Quest (school kid's game pencils from Japan), but none of the ones pictured in the link. Clearly, I've a ways to go.
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:46 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Have pencils gone the way of the buggy whip?

I used them all weekend. I was a timer at a swim meet and their water resistance is essential when you are getting splashed from time to time.

Pencil Heroes
posted by TedW at 11:33 AM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

What a wonderful site, what a wonderful collection. This post ("[o]n this, my 50th birthday, allow me to engage in a bit of personal nostalgia — pencil-related, of course") in particular made me a big fan.

And sites like this one always make me remember my first encounters with the internet. Back then (1994) I always seemed to end up looking at people's collections. Bottle caps, toys, LPs... Good times then, good times now.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 12:00 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

These are wonderful - it's fascinating seeing the minor variations driven both by utility and by aesthetics.

I occasionally run across my drafting tackle box from pre-computer days and open it up for a dose of nostalgia. Many pencils with minute differences that were significant at the time.

Pencils for me in the woodshop only these days - using one for crosswords would get me disinherited.
posted by skyscraper at 1:39 PM on April 28, 2014

In my day (and night) job I go through more non-repro blue pencils than regular ones. But mechanical pencils are my true love. Luckily there's a blog for people like me...

Dave's Mechanical Pencils
posted by acroyear at 8:25 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

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