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Friday, March 30, 2012

National Pencil Day

Credit: Dixon Ticonderoga

Low tech, cheap, affordable (same thing), not affected by heat, gravity, or dampness--perfect tool for recording anything.

What would life be without pencils? I don't know. As a lifelong learner and an educator, pencils are the mainstay of my being and have been since I have memory. My love for technology has not replaced a love of pencils.

Someone came to my home and after several hours asked why I had so many pencil holders/cups. It was such an astounding question that I was pressed for a coherent answer that would not be insulting to the person. "I write things down." 

I have pencils in four rooms, whole cups of them--beside my chair, in the kitchen, in the sewing room, and in the room beside me that used to be called the computer room. Yes, there are pens, a pair of child's scissors, a retractable mirror, and nail files in the pencil cups, yet they remain pencil cups.

Did you know that when you buy Dixon pencils you are buying the #2 pencil supplied by testers? Did you know I have 300+ new-in-the-pack pencils that I bought for less than a penny each?  I share them with people/children that might need a pack. And, I send them off to my grandchildren who must eat them!

Did you know that Henry David Thoreau's father owned a pencil factory, and that, contrary to common perceptions of his lack of effort, Thoreau worked there? Read about Thoreau's Pencils. If you are into reading or studying Thoreau, you now have a new bit of knowledge to share. I took a course in Thoreau in grad school, but knew this from my own studies.

Despite predictions that technology will wipe out low tech pencils, pencil sales are up. Life's Little Mysteries inspired me to bring you this information.

Your turn
Do you love pencils? Do you have a relationship with pencils? Funny? Sad? Share your story. Here is your chance to tell that weird pencil story that fits in with nothing else in your life. Get stabbed by one?


  1. I also love favorites are now the Black Warrior which have a gorgeous black lead...nearly velvety....I use these to draw mostly, not write. I use other brands for their erasers when I create highlights. Pencils and all school supplies remind me of being in grammar school when I would be excited about the first day of school, they have a distinctly nostalgic scent too...or is it just me?

  2. Black Warrior was what a musician friend preferred. I, too, remember the smell of school supplies. I suppose that is why I love to buy them for my grandchildren, besides the fact they are free. I have a box that smells like the first day of school. Nope, it's not just you that thinks the smell of pencils is nostalgic.

  3. As a draftsman, traditional drawing board, pencils are a tool of the trade. Originally the wooden ones (many years ago) then the clutch type so only the leads to buy, and easy to keep a sharp point.
    But there's still nothing to beat the feel of a wooden pencil, I still use them for survey notes, as already said, they're pretty infallible.

  4. When I was small there was a lady who lived in the neighbourhood who nursed sick and injured birds back to health. We called her the bird lady and took any ailing birds we found to her to be healed. When she passed on her estate went up for auction. One of my mom's friends bought an antique celery crisper at the auction and gave it to me for a wedding gift. It has always been on my desk used as, as you may have guessed by now, a beautiful cut glass pencil holder.

  5. Cumbrian,
    I suppose the sharp point would be the drawback to a wooden pencil, but for at least the first 8 years of my schooling, I remember Mama or Daddy using a knife to sharpen our pencils for homework and night and for school. I am quite sure you can sharpen your pencil in the field, using your knife. Thanks for the comment.

    Don't you love the Victorians with their specialty items? That's a great story and a lovely reuse. It must remind you every day of the "bird lady." The celery crisper would make a great subject for a post on your way, I could see a picture of your treasure.I love to hear from you.

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed your post


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