Until recently, I wasn’t aware of woodcase slate pencils – I had always thought slate pencils were only sold as raw cores or paper-wrapped. Then a friendly correspondent alerted me to a very nice set of woodcase slate pencils in his possession.
If you’re not sure what slate pencils are, here is a description from Office Museum:
During the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century, pencils cut from solid pieces of softer grades of slate or soap-stone were used by schoolchildren to write on tablets cut from harder grades of slate.
An older member of your family might have some reminiscences.
In an amusing unexpected coincidence, I came across a slate and slate pencils for sale just a few days later in a museum gift shop.
The pencil and slate have no manufacturer markings. The slate had a sticker indicting it was made in Portugal.
The pencil writes on the slate smoothly and reliably, and is currently serving duty as a highly reliable telephone message taking device!