Musgrave Choo-Choo pencil

Musgrave Choo-Choo pencil

The Musgrave Choo-Choo pencil is an oversize round pencil for children.

Made in Shelbyville, Tennessee by the Musgrave Pencil Co., it is finished in yellow with a gold ferrule and pink eraser.

Musgrave Choo-Choo pencil

The type and graphics are delightful. Made of cedar, sharpening (which I would think is important in a children’s pencil) is a breeze. Unfortunately, the lead, though okay, doesn’t seem to be up to Musgrave’s usual high standard.

Musgrave Choo-Choo pencil

Overall, it steams ahead of the competition in the category.

9 Replies to “Musgrave Choo-Choo pencil”

  1. The category you are referring to is Children’s Pencils and not Train-Themed Pencils, right? While the Musgrave Choo-Choo Pencil delights the memory and the eye it doesn’t sound like any kind of writer or drawer. Here you must forgive me for assuming that Tombow (being Tombow) would not use an inferior grade of lead for such a charming and sleek product line as their range of Train pencils. Does anyone actually know how well one of the Tombow Train Pencils writes (an idle question–if I owned a set I wouldn’t dream of defiling its looks by sharpening one–but I ask the question anyway)?

  2. Stephen, my question as to how well Tombow’s Train Pencil writes was posed to the wood pencil community as a whole and asked in perfect innocence–I had not yet read your prior post (Happy Fiftieth Anniversary, American Pencil Collectors Society) where you stated “…we like to sharpen and use our pencils!”. I burst out laughing when I read that because in the context of this statement my question most certainly appears pointed. I am not asking you or anyone to defile the smashing looks of their Tombow Train Pencil Set by sharpening one to satisfy my idle curiosity–I know I would not do so if I owned them for almost any consideration. OTOH, if someone in the vast universe of pencil lovers has used one and has an opinion on how well it writes I would love to hear it.

  3. Jim,

    1. Sorry for any ambiguity. I am comparing the Choo-Choo to pencils like the Spangle Jumbo and Dixon Laddie as oversize “Learner’s” pencils. I think it trumps both of those!

    2. Though I seem to have accumulated a few pencils, many as part of a research and discovery process for this blog, there are very few I wouldn’t sharpen:

    – Single historic or unusual samples sent to me as gifts or specimens which can’t be replaced.
    – A very few older vintage pencils that I perceive as being in some way historic.
    – A few exceptional novelty pencils like the Tombow train pencils where the unaltered graphics appear to be an intrinsic aspect of the product, in addition to the pencils being very hard to source. I got series I via Rakuten in a process that seemed incredibly convoluted and expensive. (This is not the end of the train pencils, btw!)

    So, I am not a “collector” in many senses – I want to enjoy and use pencils.

    Regarding the Tombow train pencils – a box in Japan is 480 Yen – about $US5. If it was possible to get boxes for $5 on this side of the Pacific, I would sharpen them and tell you! What we may be able to do is find another Tombow square pencil in 2B and test that!

  4. My dad work for the American Pencil Co. for over 52 years the time he was 14.
    I have some pencils he help produce.
    How can I find out if they are worth anything to a collector.

    For example i have
    3 American Pencil Co. Venus Velvet 3557 No 2
    2 American Pencil Co Universal marker 53
    and a bunch more.
    If there is any interest let me know.

  5. Musgrave are an example of a sad story. There is no more cedar production in Tennessee, so now Musgrave use cedar from China for their pencils :(

    Dixon sell pencils now – made in China

    Musgrave pencils are at least still made here in Tennessee. I looked and looked all over here locally (Nashville) but they do not sell them anywhere. Apparently Musgrave only make them for schools and large orders.

    Sad – when here in Nashville you can’t buy a locally made pencil (although the cedar comes from China) – That the only pencils on the shelves are pencils… made in China!

    They do sell a few that are made in America – but I didn’t like the build of those. Ticonderoga – pencils are apparently made in Mexico.

    I like the natural color pencils from – (forgot the actual brand name)

    Right now I am using a Musgrave “Unigraph” 1200 Drawing 4H – I had to contact the company directly in order to obtain it!

    nashville, TN

  6. I have one of the MEGABRANDS pencils you are talking about. You can buy them at Target and they are called U.S.A Gold. They are apparently made in the U.S. and use that tongue and groove construction to maximize the cedar use.

  7. Chris, you are right, but I think there are some subtleties to note – US timber is sent to China for processing into pencil slats. The slats are then sent back to Musgrave in Tennessee (a very long journey) to be glued, painted, etc. and turned into pencils.

  8. Are the Musgraves still made of cedar? After recently finding this wondeful site and learning of Musgrave, I placed an order with PencilThings for a few dozen Musgrave HBs and Test Scoring pencils. I received them several days ago. While I like these pencils and they write and sharpen well, they do not have that great cedar aroma, which of course was a little disappointing. I’m certainly no wood expert but, after reading some of the posts regarding potetnial hard times at Musgrave, I wonder if the company has had to cut costs

  9. Paul, I’m not sure if Musgrave has made any recent process changes. Would anyone else be able to share their observations? I am pretty sure I have heard a similar statement from someone else. Do these pencils “look” like cedar in terms of woodgrain appearance?

    Musgrave isn’t retail focused, and appear to make most of their income from “OEM pencils” which don’t carry the Musgrave name. The Home Depot carpenter’s pencil is an example. That pencil incidentally, was one of the first to carry the FSC logo, and I’ve seen other FSC pencils from Musgrave. I suspect they make all the FSC certified pencils that claim to be US made.

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