Wagner: The All American Pencil Company

The Wagner Pencil Company of Bakewell, Tennessee has been previously mentioned at pencil talk.

They rarely make the press – a 2010 safety award, and a 2017 fire are what I can find. But also, a three minute 2014 WTVC clip (below). One of the staff interviewed on camera previously commented on pencil talk‘s 2010 post!

What is so interesting about Wagner is that they make their own slats from Eastern White Pine! You heard that right – an American pencil pencil company that few have heard of, managing their own supply chain. I don’t know if they make their own leads – but not using slats manufactured in China makes them absolutely unique in the United States. Their pencil is as special and local as the Caran d’Ache Swiss Wood. According to their general manager, they’ve been around since 2002.

The WTVC clip mentions the Snowy Owl (a protected species) nesting in the Eastern Red Cedar as being a reason for that wood species no longer being used for pencil production. That is different than the story we most often hear.

I wonder if Wagner was involved in the production of the Musgrave Tennessee Red? They are two hours by road from Shelbyville.

I’ve tried to contact them, but haven’t succeeded. I would love to try their pencils and learn more about their story. They make novelty and advertising pencils – as a commenter wrote in 2010, you might be using a Wagner without knowing it!

(c) 2021 pencil talk

5 Replies to “Wagner: The All American Pencil Company”

  1. I wonder if they made the pencils I have from a St. Louis violin shop — black eraser and ferrule, black paint, very smooth dark lead. Freebies, but exceptionally good.

    I kept waiting for someone in the news story to mention your post, but then I read the old post and re-read the sentence in this one. : )

  2. “One of the staff interviewed on camera commented on pencil talk‘s 2010 post!”

    Sorry. I’ve made what I hope is an improvement in that sentence. The staff member did not comment about the 2010 post on camera. She commented through a blog comment.

    On another front, I looked up the Snowy Owl. It geneally resides in the Arctic, not Tennessee. I misheard, or they are speaking of another owl.

  3. It’s a huge leap just to be using American (sawed) wood. I wonder about the ferrules and erasers? I can’t imagine those come from anywhere but China.

  4. Todd, Wagner did take a leap, right at the time when others were offshoring. It seems like a really interesting story, and I wish we knew more.

    Cly-Del is an example of a company that used to supply the US pencil industry with ferrules. I don’t know if they sell ferrules today.

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