A few years ago, pencil industry blog Timberlines suggested that there were about 300 pencil factories in the world, with 200 of those located in China. Who knows what the number is today? And of the 100 factories outside China, many use either slats or raw pencils from China for their production. It goes further – many western brands are supposedly produced in China, even if the fact is hidden. Industry figures inside and outside China confirm this. It seems that if we created a measurement such as “pencil production hours”, China would be well in the lead.
So what pencils are made in China? This gets harder to say. There are the novelty, OEM, and contracted overseas brands. But brands from China are fewer. The China First Pencil Co. is the name brand from China that we first saw. Here is another. Marco kindly contacted me and sent some product samples.
The Marco Natural 6000 is pencil in the natural finish style, hexagonal with silver ferrule and red eraser. The exposure of the natural woodgrain certainly struck me as attractive.
Markings are minimal:
Natural 6000 HB=2 Marco
The packaging is attractive and goes very well with the theme.
There is a very interesting statement on the box: “They are made of Premium quality Cedar-Lite wood and sharpen smoothly.”
What is “Cedar-Lite”? The best answer I get is “Hunan Fir”, possibly treated. In other words, not cedar, though having a pattern which is similar enough.
The Chinese company which manufactures this product has a California office! More here.
I understand that the branding of cedar may be hard to compete with, but this name is somewhat misleading. The pencil sharpens very well, and the wood can stand on it’s own merits.
The lead is good. Not the smoothest, yet not scratchy. Unfortunately, the eraser is essentially non-functional.
Overall, the pencils are good. But “Cedar-Lite”?
4 Replies to “Marco Natural 6000 pencil”
I agree with you; if it’s not cedar, why the need to pretend that it is? The only people who really care are those that are pencil geeks like myself.
Then again, I guess pencil companies are embarrassed to admit they depend on China for their manufacturing. Hunan Fir would be a dead giveaway.
I assume that Hunan Fir doesn’t smell the same as cedar, correct?
ooh i like the box!
Perhaps “Cedar-Like” would be a better translation? Possibly a case of engrish…
Pisces6, no, it doesn’t have that cedar aroma.
NateB, possibly. But “Cedar-Lite” had a trademark application filed with the US Patent office in 2001 (and cancelled in March, 2010): http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4002:4kule7.2.1