Here are a couple of oversize pencils from Dixon – the Laddie and Beginners.
The Beginners in particular seems to make people laugh when they see it. There is definitely something amusing about it. It looks just like a regular Ticonderoga, except that it is round and almost twice the diameter. The Laddie is somewhere between the regular and Beginners pencils.
Where there is a Laddie, there is often a Lassie, but I couldn’t find that brand offered.
The Beginners box says, “The Perfect Oversized Beginner Pencil”, while the Laddie claims to be “The Perfect Intermediate Beginner Pencil.”
The boxes also have a faux seal stating “Teacher Preferred”.
A ring with smaller text states, “Tradition & Quality Since 1795.”
Not in pencils of course – Dixon was making stove polish and crucibles back than. This mention of the company’s year of origin strikes me as just a bit curious.
The boxes indicate the pencils are made in Mexico.
They sharpen easily, but the lead seems not to match that of modern Ticonderogas, and is somewhat scratchier in my testing. That’s too bad, as these pencils won’t be offering the best experience for the children who use them.
7 Replies to “Dixon Ticonderoga Laddie and Beginners pencils”
“This mention of the company’s year of origin strike me as just a bit curious.”
Curious, but not uncommon; they suppose that the older they seem to be, the better their product quality. A strange mechanism; most commericals praise innovation and improved products, but old companies seem to promise old time quality!
Why are beginners’ pencils (except for Staedtler) round? Is it to drive elementary school teachers even more demented as the pencils roll off the desks?
“…these pencils won’t be offering the best experience for the children who use them.” I went to 1st grade around 1955 and I’m sure my experience wasn’t unique, but the teacher would dispense these giant round yellow pencils out of a cigar box and we would write on this yellowed, wood pulpy lined paper–not an aesthetic experience by any means. Both in writing and erasing, we would frequently break through the paper. By 2nd grade I had discovered fountain pens (probably a Shaeffer cartridge) and still use them (though a Waterman).
@scruss: My guess would be that the shape is meant to eliminate or at least lessen the “cutting” that ends up in a writer’s bump or callus on the middle finger.
As a “supplies” fanatic, I had a fit when I finally learned that all the top-grade pencils my kids brought to elementary school each year went into a collective stockpile. I would’ve hated to have used other people’s pencils as a kid (I used mostly Mongols, and a Parker Jotter).
I love these pencils. They stay sharp, kids choose them quickly over the other ones in the tray. The paper can make the difference. (do not use that ugly junk we used in the 50’s-60’s!) For first grade students stuggling to hold pencils correctly it they are wonderful — not as fat as the beginner pencil. The best part is how nicely they sharpen! Perfect, quick…every time!
I love the My First Ticonderoga, which looks like the Beginner pencil. I work a lot with drafting/construction projects and people in the office just love them. They’re great for notetaking on my Rhodia pads. I normally keep a box in my desk as others want to keep them once they see and use them. Maybe brings back good childhood memories!
The Laddie is a great pencil. I purchased my first one from, believe it or not, a bicycle company, Rivendell Bicycle Works (rivbike.com). To me, the size is just right. The lead, in my experience, keeps a point longer than many other pencils I’ve used lately, especially Rhodia.