The Wallace Invader pencil

Wallace Invader pencil

Does anyone remember these?

I have only one in HB, and a few in F.

It has that classic unrounded hexagonal shape. The varnish hasn’t completely survived though the decades, but the pencil’s writing ability is unimpaired.

Wallace Invader pencil

Dixon purchased Versailles, Missouri based Wallace in 1982.

19 Replies to “The Wallace Invader pencil”

  1. What a fantastic stamping on those pencils!! It looks like there are at least 3 different fonts and two different graphics on there. Where did you find these beauties? Do you have any that are sharpened?

  2. Absolutely–the Wallace Invader! I am glad to see this pencil getting its due. In the 60’s and 70’s, Wallace made an excellent daily-use no.2 pencil. The older drawing pencils in your review are amazing, but they do tend to suffer with age from chipped lacquer. I’ve rarely found them without cracks, like the in cracks on Japanese glazed ceramics…

  3. Boris, I sharpened the HB some while ago:

    adair, it sounds like you are describing the very pencils in front of me. Here is a close-up photo:

  4. I recognice them and I search in my collection and I found one of this:
    brass ferrule with silver ring, really nice pencil, if you want a picture I can take one.

  5. I bet that wood casing was cut straight and well centered. The lead sharpened lead seem very symmetrical. Impressive!

  6. In the 70s I used the Wallace Invader 511 No.1 almost exclusively. After Dixon bought Wallace in the 80s and decided to no longer make the pencil I was given several gross of them, and I still use them, but they aren’t as good as the 70s variety. So many great pencils have gone away.

  7. Just found two tins of mostly unused wallace invaders (both graphite and colored pencils).
    There was an office supply going out of business and the people there were letting everything go at fire sale prices.

  8. I have one “U.S.A. Super Lockbond WALLACE INVADER 511 3”
    I found it without an eraser and sharpened
    But it was old and I kept it…

  9. There were so many great Wallace pencil lines, including the Invader and the Motif. One of my favorites is the “Special Dispatch,” a very dark, 4-B type pencil that seems to have been made for reporters or perhaps the military—I would guess around the late 30’s or early 40’s. The Invader lasted the longest of all the Wallace lines, into the 1980’s. Wallace also made terrific accessories, like tins and boxes for pencil storage. One of the tins had a Boy Scout scene; another, somewhat reminiscent of Faber Castell, showed a knight with a pencil for a lance.

  10. My sister found some of these while the community college was emptying out one of their storage closets. She gave me roughly 2-3 dozen of these. I never heard of them until she gave me them.

    The ones I have are in excellent condition. There are no chips in the paint.

    I was also given some Venus Col-Erase pencils that were found with these pencils. ^^; Quite a find.

  11. Hi Ralph,

    Unfortunately, the Wallace Invader pencils I have aren’t #3. I wish you luck on finding them.

  12. I just picked up a tin labeled wallace silver brand invader pencils. blue ink on top and bottom. no pencils inside. Any ideas on how old it is? It is cool.

  13. I have a box and a number of Invader pencils. I’ll check to see if there is any information on the box. Petroski’s _The Pencil_ has a list of the 13 major pencil brands or manufacturers of the 1930s and I believe that Wallace was 5th in the list. However, the company must have been around for some time after that because the Invaders that I have don’t appear to be that old. I also have some kid size red pencils from Wallace that are square with round corners, but I don’t remember the model name on the pencil. These are definitely much older.

  14. As a follow-up on my previous post:

    [Obviously, I did not read all of the previous posts, or I would have known that Wallace produced pens more recently than I had thought.]

    The kid size red Wallace pencils that I mentioned are “First Writers”. They are red with white lettering.

    On another note, I never remember Wallace pencils in school or in any place I ever worked. I wonder if there distribution was limited to certain regions by the 1960s and thereafter.

  15. When I first started as a board artist back in the early 1980’s (also known today as a graphic designer), all of the marker layouts were crafted using the Invader #5011 light blue pencil first. I still have half a box stashed in my studio. Even though the workflow is pretty much electronic, I still enjoy building marker comps with a blue pencil. No other blue pencil comes close to the color and tactile feel of the blue Invader. I believe these few lone soldiers in blue will last until I retire! Amazing pencil.

  16. My uncle was Vice President of sales at Wallace Pencil, I think for close to fifty years. As such he gave me a summer job at the factory in St. Louis, in 1974. I guess to show he wasn’t giving any favors out to family, he gave me the lowest of the lowest job: sorting the graphite rods by hand to weed out any broken ones. They came in cartons of God knows how many, probably a thousand rods. I was told they were made in Georgia somewhere. I would scoop up a handful and run them down inside a box with two steel bars held in an incline. The broken pieces would naturally fall off. I’d scoop the unbroken rods up and repack them.

    The problem with the job wasn’t that I was covered in graphite dust by the end of the day (and I didn’t even think about all that I was inhaling) but rather I was competing against a new state of the art machine imported from Germany. A huge mechanism 12 to 15 feet high, and probably 30 feet long, that fed the rods into “slats” that were routed out with thin spaces for the graphite, and glued together. I could barely keep up with it. But thankfully the machine would constantly jam or break down a few times a day and have to stop for 15 or 30 minutes and I could catch up again.

    A woman near me working on some other machine lost three of her fingers. The company tried to blame her. My uncle didn’t like it very much when I defended her. Nor did he like it when I encouraged workers there to vote for a union. He got me out of there very fast after that.

    I’ll never forget what one guy who worked there said to me when I told him I was leaving. “You can’t leave. You’re the coolest guy here.”

    I remember that my uncle used to swipe fancy colored pencils to sell at vintage sales out of the back of his car. I don’t know how true it was, but my dad told me that he paid for a trip to Alaska from the pencils he sold on the sly there. Whenever he came over during winter, he would always bring along a box of the “slats” for us to use as kindling in our fireplace. Perks of the job I guess. ;o)

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