Treasure desk.

This was sent it this week from Dave in Virginia:

“Greetings — My Wife was cleaning around a homemade desk that was left in a home we recently purchased and found a box of pencils. The pencils were in pristine condition and never used. We thought it was pretty cool and decided to contact Faber-Castell. They responded quickly:

You have found a very old pencil box. It dates back to about 1860 and was produced by A.W.Faber in Stein near Nuremberg. The combination of pencils in different degrees was a very successful idea of Lothar von Faber, the owner and manager of the factory.


Renate Hilsenbeck, Faber-Castell, Archives

I hope that those who enjoy pencils, enjoy this brief post. Remember, always dig deep in ’empty’ drawers, you never know what will turn up.

-Dave — Richmond,VA”

Thanks are due to Dave, and we certainly encourage The People to send us your stories and pictures. We cannot guarantee that we can publish everything, but we can try.

[Photo copyright Dave N. 2005. Used with permission.]


Ross has tons of really cool animations from a pencil-line-drawing slant at his great site, Pencilmation, home of Happy Little Toons. Be sure to check out our favorite toon, “A Sad Swim,” which features a soundtrack that reminds us of Wes Anderson‘s films. Of course, you have to check out “Pencilmation #1” — the original.

[Screenshot content copyright Russ at Pencilmation, used with permission.]


Thanks to Martine and Max for each sending us information about the Pencil Building in Rotterdam. There is a block of flats in the large city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands called Potlood that is contained in a huge building that looks like a pencil. Max tells us:

“Great blog. This building is called ‘Het Potlood’ which is Dutch for The Pencil. The Potlood is in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. It is next door to the public library of the city. Het Potlood is an apartment building.”

I suddenly want to move to the Netherlands. That building would make a great headquarters for the Revolution.

[Photo from here.]

Dalton Ghetti.

Dalton Ghetti carves sculptures out of the points of pencils, literally. This is amazing work that you should definitely check out.

At school Dalton always sharpened pencils by hand, and would sometimes peel the paint from the pencil and carve intricate designs into the wood. He noticed that a good blade cuts through both the wood and through the graphite, leaving behind a nice flat and shiny surface. He began working on them until they were perfectly round and cone shaped, then removed more wood as the graphite started to become part of the carvings. He had found the perfect material for his miniature sculptures.

(Thanks for the link, Hans!)

[Image copyright D. Ghetti.]

Jefferson: hella meta.

This comes via Journalismo, via 43 Folders:

“Among his collection of pocket-sized devices were scales, drawing instruments, a thermometer, a surveying compass, a level, and even a globe. To record all these measurements, Jefferson carried a small ivory notebook (pictured) on which he could write in pencil. Back in his Cabinet, or office, he later copied the information into any of seven books in which he kept records about his garden, farms, finances, and other concerns; he then erased the writing in the ivory notebook.”

Read more.

I really thought I read somewhere that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence using a pencil and then went over it in ink, but I cannot find anything to prove this one way or the other. Does anyone know anything about this?

[Photo copyright Monticello(?).]

Cap that pencil.

Fred from Orange, Connecticut wrote in recently about pencil caps:

I am 76. I recall that when I was young, we used to have available a metal , rocket-shaped item, ending with a dullish point. The purpose was to put this over the sharpened tip of one’s pencils so that they would not break, hurt someone, or by accident mark up something….they have since vanished, in part because pencils have been replaced (for walking about) with mechanical pencils, so that real pencils now are alomst always kept in offices, rooms, desks, etc., and there no longer is the need to cap the tip. I have out of curiousity looked all over the place for any remains of this metal protector but, alas, have not found any. Most folks either have forgotten about them or are too young to have known about them.

I know that General’s Pencil Co. makes some plastic caps called Sav-A-Point that go on the tips of pencils and that Cretacolor makes a metal cap for woodless pencils. But Fred and I wonder if anyone out there knows where to get some metal pencil caps like they used to make?

Neighbor Girl on pencils.

From a recent comment by our friend Neighbor Girl:

“There is a lot less fear in writing with a pencil. Mistakes are easier to correct and there are never ink-flow issues. I can let my guard down with pencils and my handwriting is much more relaxed. It’s similar to going on a date in a dress (pen) and going to the market with a friend in jeans (pencil). I’m not going to be fussy about my jeans, I’m just going to relax in them. Pencils are comfortable, they keep us real.”

[Photo copyright N.G., used with permission.]