Dixon Ticonderoga Noir pencil


Dixon Ticonderoga Noir pencil

Has Dixon gone too far in extending the Ticonderoga brand?

Fort Ticonderoga has played a part in French, British, and especially American history. It played a landmark role in the American revolution. The Ticonderoga pencil has been named and marketed such that its identity is inextricably bound with this history. Dixon, dating from the 18th century, was itself a part of American history. Some would call the Dixon Ticonderoga successful branding.

Dixon Ticonderoga Noir pencil

Dixon Ticonderoga Noir pencil

So when Dixon releases a pencil like the Ticonderoga Noir, a Made in China garish fluorescent silver finish pencil with black dyed wood, I have to ask, have they strayed too far from the Ticonderoga brand and tradition? If they felt they had to release such a pencil, did they have to do it in the Ticonderoga name?

Am I being too harsh? Do you like this pencil? Would you buy it?

Dixon Ticonderoga 1395 pencil


Dixon Ticoderoga 1395 pencil

A dozen vintage Dixon pencils.

Dixon Ticoderoga 1395 pencil

They are marked:

Leadfast PAT. 1927142 Made in U.S.A. Dixon Ticonderoga 1395 No. 2 5/10

Dixon Ticoderoga 1395 pencil

A cardboard holder has an illustration of Fort Ticonderoga, and the slogan “A Dixon Pencil For Every Use”.

Dixon Ticoderoga 1395 pencil

US Patent 1927142 was issued on September 19, 1933, for the eraser/ferrule combination.

They don’t make them like this anymore!

Found in a drawer


Found in a drawer (pencils)

Found in a drawer – nine yellow office pencils, sharpened and ready to use.

The pencils are marked:

1. Czechoslovakia Bohemia Works Deluxe 1380 HB
As Czechoslovakia split up in 1993, this pencil is an interesting historical item. I seem to recall Bohemia Works pencils being available some years ago.

2. Roundedge Grand & Toy HB
Dating from the 1880s, Grand & Toy used to be the leading Canadian office supply chain. They still exist, but are now owned by the OfficeMax chain. Today, nearly all hexagonal pencils have rounded edges, but I’m wondering if this line was introduced at a time when the name may have been a selling point.

Found in a drawer (pencils)

3. Province of Ontario HB
A government office pencil that went astray?

4. Canada Dixon System 2500 – HB
It sounds like a fictional mainframe computer to me – the “System 2500”.

5. Canada Berol Valor 131 B
There is a Shaeffer Valor pen on the market, but I was unaware of this pencil brand.

6. FaberCastell American 2 (Also the impression “U.S.A. Bonded”)
I believe the brand still exists in the Sanford lineup. This pencil would be post-Eberhard Faber, pre-Sanford in the timeline. Note that “FaberCastell” is styled as a single word.

7. Eagle Mirado 174 HB (The reverse has the impression “Procede “Chemi-Sealed” R Bonded Canada”)
The Mirado name is of course still around today.

And two pencils are duplicated.

So we have one pencil from the former Czechoslovakia, one from the US, and three from the Canadian subsidiaries of US firms. An interesting assortment.

Dixon Ticonderoga Antimicrobial Pencils


Dixon Ticonderoga Antimicrobial Pencil

On a recent trip to a department store, I found an unusual pencil offering – “Ticonderoga Antimicrobial Pencils with Microban antimicrobial product protection.” The package additionally says “Microban protection inhibits the growth of odor and stain causing bacteria.”

The colour is hard for me to describe, but a hospital influenced muted grey seems roughly correct. It is certainly a pencil colour I’ve never seen before. Not too appealing, I would say.

The pencils are simply marked “Dixon Ticonderoga 2 HB”. The package reveals that the pencils are made in Mexico.

A quick search reveals that Microban is a chemical treatment that will prohibit microbial growth. The health and safety benefits of antimicrobial products have been regularly questioned, and I note that Dixon was quite restrained in claiming any safety benefits on the package. Still, I think there is an unambiguous implicit message in such products: keep safe from those nasty germs!

I’m usually happy to find a new pencil, but learning of this product doesn’t produce any sort of joy for me.

Will this be a popular back-to-school pencil with worried parents? Do you welcome the antimicrobial Ticonderoga? Would you buy it yourself?

Dixon Tri-Conderoga pencil.


The Dixon Tri-Conderoga ferrule.
This past month was the first time I had seen the Dixon Tri-Conderoga for sale in Canada. I was quite happy to find a package of six with an accompanying sharpener at a local store.

The package had NAFTA-friendly trilingual (English, French, Spanish) labelling, and revealed that the pencils were made in Mexico. The two-hole sharpener has a crown emblem on the German made blades, while the plastic body hails from China.
Made in Mexico.
In a triangular shape, the diameter is midway between it’s three sided cousins, the Ergosoft and the Jumbo Grip.

The pencil surface is rubbery, like the Ergosoft. It comes unsharpened, and has gold stamping on one side. There is a distinctive Ticoderoga style ferrule, with a black eraser.
The Dixon Tri-Conderoga.
Since it requires a less common large hole sharpener, the included sharpener is an appreciated addition.

In one’s hand, it is indeed grippy. I did find the large stamping to be a drawback, and that side of the pencil side is noticeably rougher and less pleasant to hold. The larger size may require some adjustment, and didn’t feel quite right to me.

On paper, the HB lead, which appears to be a normal diameter core, seemed just a bit scratchier and lighter than an Ergosoft or a regular Ticonderoga pencil in HB.

It is a unique contribution, and the first Mexican pencil that I’m aware of owning. It gets points for design and appearance, and choosing a mid-size diameter creates an excellent new offering.

Despite these pluses, the lead quality makes it not quite as good as the Ergosoft as an actual pencil.

Let’s hope Dixon will upgrade the lead core to be (at minimum) equal to that of their regular diameter pencils.