This week marks this blog’s fourth anniversary!
The website started in 2005 as a blog with irregular looks at stationery and pencils. The first post was about Rhodia and their enigmatic orange writing pads. The post was viewed many times, and quoted elsewhere, yet never received a comment.
The second post was about the Blackfeet Indian Pencil. Two hundred words and an amateur photo, it has received dozens of comments to date, some of which are stirring reminiscences. It became clear that woodcase pencils strike an emotional chord with many!
We started as a small website. We’re still a small website, but we’re also proud to have gained an international following of pencil users, aficionados, artists, drafters, and doodlers. We are held together by our interest in the woodcase pencil, which continues to delight and amaze us.
Some statistics about the blog after four years:
Most popular posts:
1. Knurly: the Rotring 600 mechanical pencil
2. Faber-Castell Textliner 1148 highlighting pencil
3. World’s Best Pencil – Guatanteed.
4. Mechanical pencil lead diameters
5. Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil – 1
6. The Montblanc Leonardo Sketch Pen
I’ve certainly debated what this means. Are these just the most findable posts? Most of them are not at the heart of what we’ve been discussing.
Top search terms:
1. pencil talk
2. faber castell perfect pencil
3. best pencil
5. mirado black warrior
6. rotring 600
There are some people looking for the blog – but also some seeking specific products.
Top subjects of direct email:
1. Where can I buy a particular item? (Answer: Probably in Japan.)
2. How much is a particular pencil I have worth? (Answer: Unfortunately, probably nothing.)
Some notable things have happened since starting the blog.
The best benefit has been that I’ve been regularly exchanging both email and pencils with people from around the world! It has been great getting to know people I would probably never have otherwise crossed paths with.
It’s also a pleasure to exchange messages with some inside the industry. While their positions don’t necessarily allow them to participate online, I can assure you that some of them are listening!
The pencil quality promotion goal of the blog has been partially achieved, I would say. The woodcase pencils of Japan aren’t yet in European or North American retailers, but they’re much better known than even a year or two ago, and I’ll immodestly say that this blog has helped.
On the not so good side, I’ve accumulated a lot of pencils, often just to feature on the blog. It was never my intent to collect or accumulate so many, and I do want to pare down the number on hand.
I’ve also been busier than usual the last couple of months, and have been posting less. I hope you’re not losing interest!
There have been a few contributions from guests, but I have to single out one, because I know it involved an effort greater than any other post yet seen here – the pencil-themed crossword puzzle from Barrel of a Pencil. Jim, I hope you are doing well.
So I never imagined this would last so long. Thanks for sharing the voyage!