Fourth Anniversary

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:

  • 425 posts
  • 1200 to 1500 page views per day
  • 700 RSS readers, 530 from Google Reader, and most of the remainder via browsers
  • Self hosted on a 300MHz Sun Ultra 2 (this may soon change)
  • 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
    4. penciltalk
    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!

    24 Replies to “Fourth Anniversary”

    1. Congratulations on the blog´s fourth anniversary. I wish you many more years of success and increased participation, you have done an excellent job.

    2. As mentioned above, 4 years is a long time to keep the blog going. Congratulations on all the good work. I’m looking forward to your 10th anniversary :-)

    3. Congratulations on the fourth anniversary – and my best wishes for the next many years!
      regards Henrik

    4. Congratulations! and thank you for your dedication. Your posts certainly started me on the search for premium Japanese wooden pencils.

    5. Way to go on reaching four years and 425 posts! Loved the pieces on the Blackfeet Indian Pencil. That picture brought back memories of when I was a kid in school in Virginia.

    6. Congratulations! Thanks to your website I was able to get some of the finest pencils available.

    7. Congratulations, surely! By the way, you received three or four “go look there” mentions in a thread on Fountain Pen Network yesterday.

      I am helping my mother buy gifts for our family, and want something that they can remember her by and will last a lifetime… she has been recently diagnosed and this is extremely important to her. After VERY lengthy debates and discussion we have firmly decided upon the Faber Castell Perfect Pencil for her one son & his family. For her son I was thinking the Platinum, his wife Platinum or silver and son (the grandson) an aluminum. I wasn’t going to try the plastic model. There might be a couple other family members who will get a “perfect pencil” I have done abundant research (your site is outstanding, I thank you) I am familiar with all the models – I like the desk sets that come with refills and the beautiful boxes, but not everyone should get/would want the box so I will get just the pencil and some refills. My question is: WHERE DO YOU RECOMMEND I PURCHASE ALL OF THESE??? Do I really need to shop around and get the “Desk Set/platinum” from one website, the aluminum from another…UGH! I see a variety of prices (of course I really need to watch the total cost – this is getting pricey!) I really would prefer to find ONE place for the variety I am seeking, yet is getting so confusing to find good prices and variety! Add to that my worry because some of the websites have vague descriptions and I may not be getting what I THINK I am getting, and that is why the price is good.

      I have only a couple of days to place these orders – they will be given out at Thanksgiving – probably my Mom’s last one…This is so very important… PLEASE HELP!!!!

    9. Oh… My comment is awaiting moderation and I am awaiting advice… oh… I have to figure this out and I am getting more confused by the minute!
      To summarize… I guess I am looking for:
      -A Premium perfect pencil “set” for the executive type “sons”,
      -A pretty (unsure which) perfect pencil (no executive desk accessory type box necessary) for the daughters,
      -The aluminum perfect pencil (black pencils preferred)for the grandson…

      Is there ONE place where I can get ALL, and be assured of a relatively good deal?

    10. Hi Wendy,

      Exclamationphobia may have deterred some responses to your query, but I’ll suggest this:

      You seem to be planning a large purchase. So think like a purchaser. Make a detailed list, including the required delivery date, and fax or email it to your favourite retailers, asking them for their best price. See what they say. I’m sure many of them need and would welcome your business as well, especially in a recession.

    11. Wonderful advice!! It has served me well, but sadly contributed to my exclamationaddictioness!! However, as it is apparently a genetic disease, I’ve had it since birth and am quite accustomed to living with it, including the adverse social impact. (I also suffer from intermittent ellipsesese…)

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