Hell Freezes Over Twice!

(This is another fanfreakingtastic piece from Stephen Watts, whose efforts for Pencildom do nothing short of blow my mind!)

Hell Freezes Over Twice!

aka Father and Son Pencil Review VI
aka Final Review v4.0

From the June 2015 Father and Son Pencil Review V:

You know I never lie about these things, so believe me when I tell you that this is the end of our pencil reviews, unless and until I happen across a Blaisdell Calculator 600, that most rare of Steinbeck-sanctioned pencils. If that day comes, Hunter and I will sign ourselves out of the nursing home, come back to my den, blow the dust off the old computer and we’ll let you know where the third of Steinbeck’s favorite pencils falls in our list.

Friends, hell hath frozen over, and not just once, but twice.

You’re reading the second version of this review. After I submitted the first, something else happened that I doubted would ever occur: General Pencil Company advised Gary Varner of Notegeist that our pleas have been answered and the General’s Cedar Pointe #333-1 will have a second life. We will probably see it back on shelves before the end of the year! More on this later, but let’s get back to the original description of how hell has frozen over.

I was innocently minding my own business one day when I was assaulted by this eBay auction title:

Vintage Blaisdell Pencil Co. Calculator Special Grade No 660 Lot 11 Original Box

¿Qué? Special Grade 660? What was a “660?” What it was, it turns out, was a mistake. And that mistake may have been what allowed me to win an auction for a nearly full box of Blaisdell Calculator 600s at a fraction of what I might expect to pay for a box of far more plentiful vintage Blackwings. I’d begun to doubt I would ever run across a single one of these mythical creatures.

The package arrived in the mail, I carefully opened it and withdrew the spectacularly preserved Blaisdell Calculator box, slowly lifted its top to reveal the contents hidden within . . . and wet my pants.

No, that didn’t really happen. When I first took the lid off the box I emitted a primitive, not-quite-human sound enabled only by the awakening of long-suppressed genes. And then, believe it or not, I heard angels singing.

OK, those things didn’t happen either. This link will take you to a dramatic recreation of what actually occurred: My Precious Blaisdell Calculator 600s!

Blaisdell Calculator 600s

I now owned all three of the “Steinbeck” pencils. Tim Wasem of The Writing Arsenal and The Erasable Podcast fame had an interest that predated mine by years, and he had long been on the hunt. Tim had already created a “Steinbeck Shrine” featuring a Steinbeck trading card, his closest three Steinbeck pencils and a custom-made Dudek Modern Goods stand. So when I announced my find on The Erasable Podcast Facebook Community, I expected Tim to appear like Batman does after Commissioner Gordon uses the Bat-Signal. Here is how events unfolded the evening of August 25, 2015:

6:09 pm – Stephen Watts posts the above photo with the caption “The reclusive Blaisdell Calculator 600! The last of the Steinbeck trio.”

6:34 pm – Andy Welfle of the Woodclinched blog and an Erasable Podcast co-host posts: “Tim Wasem!”

8:11 pm – Tim Wasem messages “I HAVE to at least ask if you’d be interested in selling one of those Calculator pencils. If not, it’s cool…”

I’d been lying in wait for him, and I sent two: one for using, one for drooling. I owed him that because Tim had inspired me to create a poor Dudek-less version of his shrine:

2015-09-07d John Steinbeck Top 3 w Boxes

Certainly you want to know more about John Steinbeck and his pencils of choice. Surely you are here now because you have to know just how well the revered Blaisdell performs.

But first, let’s talk about something of far more interest: me.

This, Dear Reader, truly is Hunter’s and my pencil review swan song. We’ve tried every pencil in which we’ve had an interest, and we are both quite happy with where we’ve landed. Hunter is now in college and has enough high-quality pencils to get him through school and one or two careers afterward. I have more pencils than I’ll ever be able to use and am beginning to thin the herd down to my favorites.

Along the way, Hunter and I managed to provoke some interest among our other three family members, and Hunter has converted several friends — from mere bemusement to burgeoning fascination.

I’ve realized the only reason I became this interested in pencils is because my wife, who’s funny this way, wouldn’t let me have a monkey. I’m in the insurance industry. Don’t worry; I’ll connect these things for you. Early in our marriage, I was constantly taking insurance industry exams. In the insurance business, you see, self-actualization is achieved when you have more letters after your name than are actually in your name. So you need lots and lots of these initials, otherwise known as “designations.” Only after obtaining lots of these initials do people believe you are truly willing to sacrifice everything that’s good and fun in order to learn more about something that cannot be understood. Once you’ve obtained self-actualization and you see someone across the room who has also accumulated lots and lots of these initials, you give each other “the look” and a slight nod that translates roughly to, “Yeah, I still don’t get it, either.”

Anyway, studying for insurance industry exams is every bit as enthralling as you might imagine. My long-suffering wife endured many years where I would buy a pet as a way of procrastinating in my studies. If I had a new pet, I couldn’t spend all my time studying because I had to get the pet acclimated, trained, and give it all the attention it needed in order to thrive in its new environment. The pet, by golly, demanded a humane rearrangement of priorities.

But procrastination wasn’t really the problem. The problem was that these pet choices of mine were routinely disastrous and consistently resulted in our ultimately having to give the pets away. Here is a partial listing of pets we temporarily owned because of my career choice:

1. Hamster. Hamsters pee. A lot. You put them in little clear plastic balls, watch them run around the floor in these clear plastic balls, then pull the hamsters out of these clear plastic balls after you notice the hamsters have mysteriously become wet. This is when you discover they’ve peed all over themselves and, in the process, your floor. The clear plastic balls have air holes so that a) the hamsters don’t suffocate, and b) the hamsters can stain your carpeting. We kept the hamster cage on the corner of our bedroom dresser. The hamster sprayed pee all over the corner of the dresser. 25 years ago. The pee stains are still there.
2. Cockatiel. Cockatiels are like parakeets (OK, you stubborn Australians, budgerigars) only bigger. And louder. Much, much louder.
3. Rottweiler/pit bull mix puppy. It was little, maybe 12 inches long, with tiny, razor-sharp teeth. It liked to bite my wife’s ankles with those little teeth. That scared her into wondering what if it still does this when its teeth are the same size as those of a great white shark?
4. Dalmatian. Fully grown. I ran four miles a day back then. With the dog. When we started out on these runs, the dog wanted to pull me along at 20 miles an hour. Four miles later, the dog would still be trying to pull me along at 20 miles an hour. Plus, the Dalmatian chewed up a pair of glasses, a $750 loudspeaker, and it created breathtakingly large carpet stains. Dalmatians, we surmised, have proportionately larger bladders than hamsters.
5. Parakeet (budgerigar, dammit). Much quieter than a cockatiel. But parakeets need attention, and, because we both worked long hours, we couldn’t give this one all the attention it needed.
6. Companion parakeet for first parakeet. Two parakeets = sound volume of one cockatiel + mess of two cockatiels.
7. Cocker spaniel. An angelic dog. That never became housebroken. And ate its own waste. And then wanted to lick the faces of our twins who were still crawling around on the floor. In the waste not yet eaten. By the angelic dog.
8. Ant farm. Technically, this was a gift for the whole family and not just for me. Nevertheless, there’s a reason that ants, despite their heralded super-strength, do not make good farm workers. Farm labor kills ants.
9. Capuchin monkey. I list the monkey purely for sentimental reasons. Due to my own stupidity, I never obtained said capuchin monkey. I had a narrow window of spousal consent to purchase one, but I squandered this golden opportunity by revealing that as monkeys get older they throw feces and attack their owners. Even with the passage of time I’ve been unable to regain spousal consent. How much fun I could have had, my monkey and me. I would have named him “Larry,” but maybe called him “Lawrence” if I was ever mad at him about something, like throwing feces or attacking me.

My days of studying for insurance exams are long over, but I’ve been involved in a 20-year-long family genealogy project which, I might add, you should ask me about the next time you have a couple of weeks to spare. My last major genealogy project is to write a book about my father’s and my research and the story of our ancestors, told partly through many preserved letters from the mid-1800s.

I was halfway through the creation of this book and anticipating getting a lot of writing done during a vacation week in November 2014 when Hunter innocently mentioned that he had some Ticonderoga pencils. Next, Hunter not-so-innocently announced that they were the “best pencil.” This, to me, sounded like a challenge. I didn’t know anything about pencils then, but when I learned the Ticonderogas had declared themselves the “World’s Best Pencil” I became bound and determined to prove them wrong.

Things become clearer with the passage of time and I think what happened is that I needed a break from writing the book, just a little break, mind you, and pencils became a stand-in for the capuchin monkey my wife would not allow. Viewed in this light, my “interest” in pencils is inarguably my wife’s fault, not Hunter’s, and I’m simply an innocent victim in all this. Without dwelling on how my wife’s xenophobic regard for other primates led me down this path, let’s move on to focusing on the fact that I decided to set aside the genealogy book, just for a little bit, in order to delve into some pencil research. I quickly learned about the Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602’s storied reputation and consumed all of Sean Malone’s Blackwing Pages site. I learned about the evolution of the Van Dyke 601s into Microtomic 603s and California Cedar’s original Blackwing remake followed several years later by their Palomino Blackwing 602.

A fateful decision to acquire an original Blackwing 602 turned into a quest to obtain at least one of every Blackwing 602 version and two full boxes of each type of box.

Case

Why am I doing this? What will I do when I reach my goal? Does my medical insurance cover this illness? Only one of these questions is answerable.

I started following Pencil Revolution and other wonderful pencil blogs. Hunter and I began a hunt for the “best” pencil for each of us and that led to our series of reviews. Now that we’ve stumbled upon the Holy Grail Blaisdell, you are reading our last one.

Back to John Steinbeck and the Blaisdell Calculator 600: John (I feel I know him now that I have his pencils) wrote his novels in pencil and had these things to say about his writing implement of choice:

When an interviewer asked “How do you go about writing?” Steinbeck replied, “With a pencil.” (from InterestingLiterature.com)
“I have found a new kind of pencil—the best I have ever had. Of course it costs three times as much too but it is black and soft but doesn’t break off. I think I will always use these. They are called Blackwings and they really glide over the paper.”
“My hands have to keep busy. I have to hold a pencil in my fingers. I need to write some pages every day. … On the third finger of my right hand I have a great callus just from using a pencil for so many hours every day.”
“Pencils must be round. A hexagonal pencil cuts my fingers after a long day.”
“For years I have looked for the perfect pencil. I have found very good ones but never the perfect one. And all the time it was not the pencils but me. A pencil that is all right some days is no good another day. For example, yesterday, I used a [Blackwing] soft and fine and it floated over the paper just wonderfully. So this morning I try the same kind. And they crack on me. Points break and all hell is let loose. This is the day when I am stabbing the paper. So today I need a harder pencil at least for a while. I am using some [Mongols] that are numbered 2 3/8. I have my plastic tray you know and in it three kinds of pencils for hard writing days and soft writing days. Only sometimes it changes in the middle of the day but at least I am equipped for it. I have also some super soft pencils which I do not use very often because I must feel as delicate as a rose petal to use them.”
“My choice of pencils lies between the black Calculator stolen from Fox Films and this Mongol 2 3/8 F which is quite black and holds its point well—much better in fact than the Fox pencils. I will get six more or maybe four more dozen of them for my pencil tray.”
“My pencils are all short now and I think I will celebrate by getting out 12 new pencils. Sometimes just the pure luxury of long beautiful pencils charges me with energy and invention. We shall see. It means I will have to have more pencils before long though. Would you send me another box. They are Mongol 480 #2 3/8 round.”
Found on his desk after his 1968 death was a letter to his literary agent, to whom he wrote “I have owed you this letter for a very long time — but my fingers have avoided the pencil as though it were an old and poisoned tool.”

Like many people who will take the time to read our review, Steinbeck spent years looking for “the perfect pencil.” Unlike most of us, however, he used them professionally, writing for six hours a day with pencil-callused fingers. After all this experience and all this searching, it’s natural for those of us who care about pencils to wonder just how good were John Steinbeck’s top three:

Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602
Eberhard Faber Mongol 480 2 3/8 F Round
Blaisdell Calculator Special Grade 600

Hunter and I have already reviewed and ranked the Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 and the Eberhard Faber Mongol 482 2 3/8 F. I own one unsharpened Mongol 480 2 3/8 F Round, and I chose to preserve it and use the hexagonal Mongol with the same core for the review. The Mongol 482 2/38 F fell lower than expected in our list, but knowing that Steinbeck used this pencil when he specifically wanted hardness over the Blackwing’s buttery softness makes its placement understandable. Until now, we could only imagine where the third pencil might fall.

We decided to add a surprise entrant to the ranking. I’m no fan of Dixon Ticonderogas, at least not the currently available non-USA versions. My mother-in-law doesn’t know this and sent her daughter back from Florida with a gift for me of a package of Dixon Ticonderoga Renew HBs. I’d had them for months, had given several away, but hadn’t even tried one for myself, despite reading others’ comments offering occasional mild praise. As Hunter and I prepared to rank the Blaisdell, we discussed the merits of adding the Renew to the list. One of my primary yet defenseless considerations was that the shelf in my display cabinet showcasing the reviewed pencils had room for one more pencil; two was improbable.

Our review methodology remained unchanged:

We’ve ranked our pencils in terms of the overall quality and darkness of the line they leave as well as how effortlessly they move across the paper. Our rankings do not take into account aesthetics or how long pencils hold their points. We’ve previously provided thoughts on which pencils we really like once we throw in livability and aesthetics and will do that again at the end of this review. Finally, we have always tested on both hard and soft surfaces by using legal pads and a couple of sheets of paper on a hard surface.

Our last raking left us with this list of 25 pencils, shown in preferred order:

1. Mitsubishi Hi Uni 2B
2. Tombow Mono 100 2B
3. Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602
4. Palomino Blackwing 602
5. Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB
6. Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB
7. Tombow 2558 HB
8. Mitsubishi 9850 HB
9. Staedtler Noris 122 HB
10. Eberhard Faber Mongol 482 – 2 3/8 F
11. Staedtler Norica HB 2
12. Palomino ForestChoice #2
13. Mitsubishi 9000 HB
14. Faber-Castell 9000 2B
15. Staedtler Mars Lumograph HB
16. Staedtler 123 60 2 HB
17. General’s Cedar Pointe #333 – 1
18. Palomino Blue Golden Bear #2
19. Field Notes No. 2
20. Dixon Ticonderoga HB 2
21. General’s Semi-Hex 498-2 HB
22. General’s Cedar Pointe #333 – 2 HB
23. General’s Test Scoring 580
24. Musgrave Test Scoring 100
25. U.S.A. Gold Natural 2 HB

Hunter’s and my task for this review was fairly simple in comparison to past reviews. We didn’t have to compare the newbies with every pencil in the list because we fully expected the Blaisdell Calculator to come in near the top and the Ticonderoga Renew to land near the Ticonderoga HB 2.

Hunter and I had the same reaction when we first wrote with a freshly sharpened Calculator: “Oh, wow.” The Blaisdell Calculator 600 landed in our ranking right next to the Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602. We ran multiple comparisons with both the Eberhard Faber and Palomino Blackwings to be certain of our positioning and agreed that, finally, something came between the original and Palomino Blackwing 602s. The Eberhard Faber Blackwing moves more smoothly across the paper and is marginally better to write with than the Blaisdell Calculator 600. The Blaisdell, in turn, was just a bit smoother than the Palomino Blackwing 602.

Though not a factor in our ranking, even in our limited tests we noticed the Blaisdell Calculator 600 has better point retention than either Blackwing 602, an extraordinary achievement and one that clearly differentiates the Blaisdell Calculator 600 from other pencils at the top of our list. Pencils that write as dark and that glide across the paper as smoothly as these trade point retention for those other qualities. The Blaisdell Calculator 600 seems to have achieved the ultimate compromise and if this is your idea of perfection, the Blaisdell Calculator 600 is possibly the finest pencil ever manufactured.

The Blaisdell Calculator 600 may have fallen victim to the same fate as the Blackwing 602: Sanford Corporation purchased Empire Berol (which then had the Blaisdell pencils) and Faber-Castell USA (which then had the Blackwings). I’m not certain when the Blaisdell name or the Calculator 600 itself vanished, but Sanford ceased production of the Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602 in 1998 when remaining stock of the unique ferrules was exhausted.

The Ticonderoga Renew quickly and decisively landed next to the regular Ticonderoga. It took a few runs for both of us to agree it was not quite as good as the standard Ticonderoga but we acknowledge the similarity between the two might mean the same core is used in both pencils.

Our final ranking is now of 27 pencils:

1. Mitsubishi Hi Uni 2B
2. Tombow Mono 100 2B
3. Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602
4. Blaisdell Calculator 600
5. Palomino Blackwing 602
6. Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB
7. Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB
8. Tombow 2558 HB
9. Mitsubishi 9850 HB
10. Staedtler Noris 122 HB
11. Eberhard Faber Mongol 482 – 2 3/8 F
12. Staedtler Norica HB 2
13. Palomino ForestChoice #2
14. Mitsubishi 9000 HB
15. Faber-Castell 9000 2B
16. Staedtler Mars Lumograph HB
17. Staedtler 123 60 2 HB
18. General’s Cedar Pointe #333 – 1
19. Palomino Blue Golden Bear #2
20. Field Notes No. 2
21. Dixon Ticonderoga HB 2
22. Dixon Ticonderoga Renew HB
23. General’s Semi-Hex 498-2 HB
24. General’s Cedar Pointe #333 – 2 HB
25. General’s Test Scoring 580
26. Musgrave Test Scoring 100
27. U.S.A. Gold Natural 2 HB

Our review now complete, I had to try and squeeze all 27 pencils onto that blasted shelf. I knew it would be a close fit and, as I tried to place our top-ranked Mitsubishi Hi-Uni 2B on the right side of the shelf, discovered it wouldn’t quite go. The pencil was just too long. I had to angle the end of the pencil up into the corner which caused it to push the stand out on the shelf far enough that I couldn’t open and close the glass doors properly. Drat. I walked into Hunter’s room, asked him if he had a sharpened Hi-Uni 2B (of course he did), took a look and asked him if he wanted to trade my practically new one for his that had been worn down just enough for my purposes (of course he did). Voila! Results below.

2015-09-07 27e 27 Reviewed Pencils in Case

Focusing once again on Steinbeck’s three, we ranked his preferred pencils in the order shown in the following photo:

2015-09-07c John Steinbeck Top Three

John Steinbeck knew his pencils. Most people who write rather than draw for a living would throw out the 2Bs at the top of our list. If that is done, two of John Steinbeck’s favorite three pencils top a ranking that includes many, if not most, of the finest pencils ever made.

Steinbeck explained why the Mongol 2 3/8 F fell so much farther down our list: “This is the day when I am stabbing the paper. So today I need a harder pencil at least for a while. I am using some [Mongols] that are numbered 2 3/8.”

Hunter and I have been sharing our picks for “top five daily writers” in these reviews. Our criteria for “top five” add usability, fun and aesthetics to the mix, and the pencils must be currently manufactured. Have our lists changed with more experience?

My list, before:

1. Palomino Blackwing 602
2. Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB
3. Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB
4. Mitsubishi 9850 HB
5. Tombow Mono 100 2B

My list, until the announcement that General Pencil Company would restart production of the best pencil to ever come out of their factory, the Cedar Pointe #333-1:

1. Palomino Blackwing 602
2. Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB
3. Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB
4. Mitsubishi 9850 HB
5. Mitsubishi 9000 HB

I wrote the next two paragraphs before receiving this stunning news from General Pencil Company:

The Mitsubishi 9000 HB replaced the Tombow Mono 100 2B. The Tombow was always a “second choice” for my top five list, there only because I couldn’t include my “real choice,” the General’s Cedar Pointe #333-1 after those General Pencil Company rascals stopped making them. I wasn’t wildly enamored with anything else in our list; so I threw in the Tombow — despite its abysmal point retention, because it is still such a joy to write with and looks tuxedo-cool.

After using the Mitsubishi 9000 HB at work with increasing frequency, I’ve grown to appreciate it more and more. It writes well, leaves a plenty dark line and it sports that spectacular green finish with the best-ever “Made by Elaborate Process” motto. I’m quite happy with my top five list, and absent some unforeseen new-kid-on-the-block pencil, I expect my choices to be stable for years to come.

Well now . . . did things change with General Pencil Company’s startling announcement?

If you’ve read our previous reviews, you know I’ve always wanted to place the Cedar Pointe #333-1 in my top five but because it was abruptly, unceremoniously and shockingly killed off (friends, it was NEVER EVEN GIVEN ITS OWN BOX but had to live with #1 stickers plastered onto #2 boxes –Oh, the indignity!), I could not list it in my top five.

After I’d finally, grudgingly moved on and decided I could make a new life with the Mitsubishi 9000 HB, the #333-1 shows back up at my door. What to do?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me, I know, but I am taking a chance and letting the #333-1 back into my life. Why? Well, just look at the damned thing, people. Its spectacular plainness belies its origins in a New Jersey factory. This pencil is Daniel Boone wilderness America, man. It doesn’t give a rat’s ass if you’re taken aback by its apparent lack of refinement. The #333-1 is so self-assured that it has no need for superfluous refinements like paint or even perfectly imprinted branding. You don’t like it? Move on, it implies. It knows that most other naked pencils are wannabe imposters. Take a close look at these mere poseurs; on all but a few you’ll find a thin, clear layer of lacquer or varnish protecting your dainty little digits from the realities of nature’s actual wood. Not the Cedar Pointe. It’s honest. Trust me on this; Daniel Boone would have carried a Cedar Pointe #333-1.

My list, now that General’s Cedar Pointe #333-1 has clawed its way out of the grave:

1. Palomino Blackwing 602
2. Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB
3. Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB
4. Mitsubishi 9850 HB
5. General’s Cedar Pointe #333-1

I’m still keeping a supply of Mitsubishi 9000 HBs. What do I mean? I mean I intend to live my life with my top six, not top five. The Cedar Pointe will ground you in reality. The Mitsubishi 9000 HB will make you smile with its goofy motto.

Let’s see if Hunter has changed his mind.

Hunter, before:

1. Mitsubishi 9850 HB
2. Palomino Blackwing 602
3. Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB
4. Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB
5. Mitsubishi Hi Uni 2B

Hunter, after:

1. Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood 348 HB
2. Mitsubishi 9850 HB
3. Palomino Blackwing 602
4. Palomino Blue Eraser-Tipped HB
5. Mitsubishi Hi Uni 2B

Hunter’s updated list contains a startling shift. The smoothness and point retention of the Swiss Wood were so significant to Hunter they outweighed the lighter line left by this product of the feudal hermit kingdom known as “Switzerland.”

Some things never change, and Hunter and I remain steadfastly loyal to the Palomino Blackwing 602 as our choice for a gross of only one kind of pencil on a deserted island. We love the pencil for its fun factor, writing quality and looks.

We have reached a place of complete satisfaction with our findings. Hunter has a college degree to obtain, and I have a genealogy book to finish. Thanks to our little diversion over the last year, we can continue on with far better tools than we otherwise would have suffered with, had we carried on in blissful ignorance.

Hunter and I will be difficult to find during his college breaks; we have some mountain climbing to do. Why? Not because “it’s there.” Be serious. We’re going so we can join our fellow true believers and stand shoulder to shoulder with them, holding our Blackwing 602s in our hands and singing in unison . . . .

We’ll tell Don Draper you said hello.

2015-09-07a 27 Reviewed Pencils Vertical

Previous reviews:

Father and Son Pencil Review V (aka Final Review v3.0)

Father and Son Pencil Review IV: What? IV?

Father and Son Pencil Review III: The Final Chapter

Father and Son Pencil Review II

Father and Son Pencil Review I

Pencil Sharpener Shootout

My Journey to Pencil Sharpener Satisfaction

You’ve now arrived at where in the first version of this review I again encouraged you to write the General Pencil Company and describe to them how our lives are devoid of any pleasure since they have extinctified (well, it SHOULD be a word) the Cedar Pointe #333-1. I would have asked you to replace profanity with clever symbols, for example, %^$#@! to ensure your thoughtful messages made it out of the mail room.

Now, instead of pleading with the executioners, we can thank the pardoners. If you’d like to let them know you’re happy about bringing this rugged little pencil back to life, please do two things:1)Tell General Pencil Company you’re happy about their decision, and that you will 2) buy the pencils.

General Pencil Company, Inc.
PO Box 5311
Redwood City, CA 94063

Email: Info@GeneralPencil.com

Online contact form: http://www.generalpencil.com/contact-us.html

And finally, my sincere thanks to Sean Malone and Johnny Gamber for their inspiring work.

10 Replies to “Hell Freezes Over Twice!”

  1. Seriously funny post. Warning: don’t read this during lunch! No food harmed, but took a few minutes to clean the spewed tea off the table, wall, window. Been there with the hamster’s evil cousin: the gerbil. At least hamsters are slow moving!

    And thanks, Stephen. I finished the article and immediately went to modify my eBay saved search to remove “600.” Tip of the day.

    1. Hi,

      I recently ran across a “golden box” of one dozen brand new never been shapenned Blaisdell “Calculater 600 Special Grade” pencils. I was curious about them and went Web searching and found your review. Any interest, I too happen to like pencils :-)

  2. Thanks Gary, and best of luck on the hunt!

    I’m with you on the disease-carrying vermin. I’ve always said, at least since I read it on a Pot Shots postcard, “I get along well with everyone, except for animals and people.”

    1. Pablo, you’re comment is so brilliant from several different angles I started to response twice before and just gave up. So I’ll just say it made me laugh out loud and thank you for the compliment!

  3. You go away for awhile and all hell breaks loose in pencil world. Kudos Stephen on bagging your Blaisdells. That’s an impressive tableau you’ve assembled. At least you never brought home a termite or a beaver!

    That’s great news about the Cedar Pointe #333-1.

  4. It seems you’ve made it clear that you don’t like the 2Bs at the top of the list for general writing very much, but if you were able to include the harder variants of the Hi Uni and Mono 100 would one of them appear in your top 5 general writing pencils?

    1. Hi Structor,

      After we displaced the Mitsubishi and Tombo HBs with the 2Bs in our second review, I never looked back at the HBs. Hunter, however, has continued to experiment with them yet he still hasn’t moved them up into his top 5. They are VERY nice pencils, mind you, just not one of my favorites.

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