Ruwe Pencil Co. 205 No. 7S pencil

Ruwe Pencil Co. 205 No. 7S pencil

You never know what a small city art supply store will offer. Last weekend, I found some pencils for sale from a long defunct Connecticut pencil manufacturer.

Ruwe Pencil Co. was purchased by Dixon in 1988, and I had only heard of them from collecting sites like Brand Name Pencils, so it was surprising to see some Ruwe pencils for sale at retail.

This pencil, the 205 No. 7S, is a “Polyester Drafting Film” pencil. For those of us (including myself) who don’t regularly work with specialty architectural and drafting films, this is a type of matte surface film with a number of properties that support drawing. You can see it for sale at Dick Blick for example. Staedtler and others do mention that their pencils work on drafting film.

Ruwe Pencil Co. 205 No. 7S pencil

The pencil also has markings from Keuffel and Esser, an engineering and drafting supplies firm. Perhaps the pencil was made for them.

A page at the Smithsonian website suggests K&E’s demise was in 1969, so this pencil might be much older than 1988.

A nice link to the past for only thirty cents.

18 Replies to “Ruwe Pencil Co. 205 No. 7S pencil”

  1. Regarding the photo above, I’m wondering if anyone knows where I can purchase natural pencils, without erasers, that I can imprint or personalize? The picture above is just what I’m looking for.

  2. Is there anybody out there that can help me out? My office is one of the few architects who still draft by hand. We prefer to use mylar sheets for drafting and it seems that wood pencils with plastic lead such as the RUWE noted above have become extinct. We still have some of the RUWE pencils and 3S seem to work best and we have used many others over the years. Any suggestions on manufacturers or suppliers?

  3. Rick, sorry to hear about this situation.

    Staedtler once made the Duralar and Dynagraph pencils – is any pencil currently made specifically for use on drafting film?

  4. Rick, your comment has remained on my mind.

    It is quite fascinating to learn that you are one of the last architects to use woodcase pencils. I think there is a great story here waiting to be told.

    I don’t know what sort of budget you may have, or if you are aware of other firms that need this pencil type, but it might be possible to get one of the smaller pencil companies to do a special run for you.

  5. The Staedtler Mars Dynagraph pencils are still listed at Lowell Blueprint Inc.‘s website.

    It’s quite possible that the Turquoise Filmograph pencil is still in production (and sold NOS at Genesis Art Supplies and The Complete Line), although this is only from limited deduction, as it is still listed off to the side on Prismacolor’s website.

    Both appear to be a proper plastic or polymer lead (at least from what I can see out and about and search engine queries).

    Best of luck in your search.

  6. Well you’ve found another hand drafting architect; I’m in Colorado Springs. I have 2 drafters who help me and we still do it all by hand–the drawings are just done more carefully I feel, the drawings just look better, and I can quickly erase and re draw things as needed. I use a mechanical drafting lead holder with sanford Turquoise no. 2H leads on mylar for schematics and renderings, and on 1000h vellum for construction drawings.

  7. What on earth does the ‘S’ stand for? We see variants of ‘B’, ‘HB’, ‘F’, and ‘H’ all the time, sometimes even variants of ‘E’ in the pencil companies’ grading systems, but ‘S’?

  8. Mark, thanks for leaving a comment. I definitely want to watch Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (the original!) after perusing your website.

    I appreciate what you’re saying, though I’m surprised at the mention of easy erasure – I would imagine that a CAD program’s “undo” function would be an advantage.

    Barrel, ‘S’, ‘N’, ‘K’, and other lead grades seem to exist in the polyester drafting film world. With a digit being part of the grade, 1S would be softer than 2S, and so on.

    Just what do those letters mean? Maybe someone out there can tell us. Staedtler seems to have used both ‘K’ and ‘N’ for their specialty drafting film pencils.

  9. I was contacted today by a women interested in selling Ruwe pencils for use on Polyester Films…..anyone interested in connecting with this person let me know. I must charge one example of each since I do not have them on my site:-)

  10. My all-time favorite pencils were made by the Ruwe Pencil Company. A former free-lance employer who was getting rid of some old supplies gave me a box of them that had three dozen in it back in about 1984, and I’ve been doling them out to myself slowly since then. I’d love to know what makes them stand out and to learn whether someone makes their equivalent now.

    Unfortunately, they bear no indicator of what type or hardness they are; they say only American Metal Market Forum in white letters on a red background. I’m guessing there would have been a standard type used for such promotional pieces.

    I’d be grateful for any suggestions or thoughts. Thanks!

  11. I have a 1/2 gross of vintage Ruwe pencils, white in color, banded in groups of 12 pencils and all in their original display box. They are marked as 2 and 4/8ths instead of the usual No. 2 pencil. I am willing to sell these if anyone is interested. I’d prefer to sell the entire box rather than piecemeal them out, but any interested parties contact me at:
    Photos are available.

  12. For what it’s worth, my Great-Grandmother began the Ruwe Pencil Company along with my Grandparents. It was a small shop run by my grandparents and my uncle among others. If there is sufficient interest, I may produce a web archive of the company. I also have a variety of examples of pencils made by our company.


  13. Robert Otto – please reach out to we have common ancestors – great aunt Daisy Meisser Ruwe. Have some remaining X-mas pencil gifts and memories that I treasure – e.g. just for you from Daisy Ruwe.

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