“I’d rather create a one-liner than infuse my work with intentional ambiguity,” writes designer Mark Moskovitz about his piece, “Cabinetmaker.”

He tells us:

“I’ve always been a big fan of simple, chunky objects that work well and have more than one purpose. For a carpenter, these pencils are more than just a pencil, they’re a tool, including jamming a saw guard, a scribe, and many more uses. I just wanted to pay a small homage to a ‘free’ object I like a lot. I can’t resist a visual pun.”

Check out more of Mark’s work at his site, Be sure to check out the Writer’s Cabin (under Bio), a creation that would make Thoreau proud.

[Image and quotation Mark Moskovitz, used with permission of the artist.]

Highlighting pencils.

We have been looking for highlighting pencils at the Revolution, only to find out that Faber-Castell no longer makes their dry textliners. You can still find some on eBay, but that’s all you’re going to find as far as we can tell. Here they are in yellow and in pink.

Levenger used to sell something similar, but now all they have are these mechanical versions, which are nice but are not the wood we’re looking for.

On the other hand, Lyra is selling something very similar, pictured above. Here is the availability we can find for these, with the second site being in German. At Pen City. At Schulanfang.

If anyone knows of other wooden dry highlighters (especially if one can get them online), please let us know!

Cliff Clavin and Dixon.

Seems there was a program on television lately about companies that have not out-sourced much of their production and still make their gear in the USA, including the Dixon Ticonderoga company. The show is called “Made in America.” Seeing as how I’m sitting here chewing on a Tri-Write, I wish I could have caught it.

Making pencils (and other products) over-seas is a hot topic, certainly, but we pass no judgment here at Pencil Revolution. There are certainly foreign-made pencils that are much better than some American pencils, and vice versa. We’ve found both gems and junk from the US, from Europe and from Asia.

Still, given that making pencils in America has always been a part of Dixon’s approach and that this approach was certainly instrumental in strengthening the American pencil industry during the first World War (when good German pencils were getting hard to come by), this is still something admirable. The American pencil industry was and is beneficial to the industry as a whole, if for no other reason, then for the mechanizations made standard here.

(Thanks, Armand and Ronin1516 for the link!)

Happy Labor Day!

Two more pencil buildings.

Halib sends us information about “Le Crayon” in Lyons, France: “Here is another ‘pencil building’….The “Crédit Lyonnais” tower in the Part Dieu neoghbourhood of Lyon, France. Its local nickname is ‘Le crayon’, the pencil.” (View original photo here.)

And Luca writes in: “Hi, Just to let you know that in Genova (Italy) there is a Building called ‘Matitone;’ that means ‘big pencil’. (View original image here.)

Many thanks to Halib and Luca and everyone else who sends us suggestions and posts. Keep ’em coming!

[Photos copyright Coolfrog and Foto.It.]


Rob Harrison of Loftgeeks submitted this post this week:

The more that I type and use my computer, the worse my writing gets with pencils or any other implement. I don’t even own a pencil sharpener anymore, and have great difficulty finding pens. Whenever I’m on the phone and say “wait, let me grab a piece of paper” I actually am rushing to my laptop to open NotePad and type up a quick note. Even I can barely understand my own handwritten print, and my cursive is quickly going down the tubes as well. Yet my typing speed has soared over 150 words per minute and since my PDA (a Sony Clie) joined the daily contents of my pocket, the need to write by hand diminishes more rapidly each day. Only my PDA need recognize my attempted scrawls in the Grafiti 2.0 language, and I’ve begun to handwrite printed letters in the Grafiti style instead of my own. In the digital age, I wonder if pencils are quickly becoming a dying breed and will soon be replaced by smart paper technologies.

We certainly hope not. You’d be amazed at the technology that actually goes into making pencils, from developing non-toxic paint to getting ferrules on more effficiently. There is a veritable plethora of information at Timberlines about pencil manufacturing and the pencil industry, and we cannot recommend our friend Woodchuck enough as a source of amazing information and great pencil stories.

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.]


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.]

Blackwing 602 at Ninth Wave Designs.

Lisa at Ninth Wave Designs writes about her beloved Blackwing 602s:

“I began using Blackwing 602 pencils as an art student years ago and have never found another pencil to compare with the richness of the lead. They give a deep dark black without being overly smudgy, and all the silvery range of greys are there too. The feeling that comes to mind is ‘smooth’ and it is a pleasure to put this pencil to paper.” (Read on.)

The Revolution is without Blackwings to speak of and hopes against hope that Sanford will get that ferrule machine fixed or replaced. Maybe if enough members of the Revolution step up and write to Sanford Corp. it might help? It should be obvious to them that the fans of the Blackwing are willing to pay good money for it. Here is their contact info. In my experience, they do actually write back or at least read what people send them. Perhaps this is a job for the power of the Pencil People.