Comments and Questions

A page for comments, queries, and questions that aren’t in response to a particular post.

308 Replies to “Comments and Questions”

  1. The easier question first – Roberto, I think they are still in business. Their website does seem up, but presenting a Microsoft SQL error. Defenestration time?

    Armando, there are certainly documents and artworks much older than fifteen years that were created with lead pencil. Hundreds of years old in fact. But were they in constant contact with the air? I really have no idea.

  2. Hello,

    I am desperate to find a pencil sharpener for golf pencils, one that creates a short point, proportional to the pencil. I work in a library, and we either sharpen the small pencils with a regular sharpener and patrons complain that the pencils are even harder to hold….or we throw perfectly good pencils away.

    Any suggestions?

    I just discovered your blog, and I love it!

    Thanks so much.

  3. Thanks for the comment and query. That is a great question! Some sharpeners aimed at colour pencils have a slightly less acute angle, yet I’m not sure that they would suffice. As you know, golf-type pencils are typically seen as disposable, so it is great to hear that you are making extra use of them.

  4. I am wondering what certain pencils are made out of, just because they are annoying to me and I am curious. The part that is supposed to be wood is smoother than normal wood and slightly pink. I can’t tell if it’s pressed together from sawdust or something else. This type of pencil is slightly flexible, but still able to be broken. If it breaks, it will not splinter. Other than these things, this type of pencil is just like a standard pencil. These pencils have been bothering me since I first encoutered them in elementary school almost three decades ago, because they are so junky. Your site seems to be a pencil authority, and thus, the place to ask a question like this. Will you please e-mail me with a reply?

  5. There are a lot of questions here.

    Firstly, for those looking for a pencil sharpener that delivers a more cone-shaped point similar to a golf pencil, consider T’GAAL. There are selectible point angles. It runs about $15.

    A less expensive alternative to the T’GAAL, is the venerable KUM Rotare, at about $2. It is, hands down, the best designed hand held pencil sharpener … period. The point angle is slightly less cone-shaped than the T”GAAL, but it’s very close.

    A third alternative is the Faber-Castell Tri. It opens like an alligator jaw, with two holes on one side and a single hole on the other. Use the single hold side. It yields a cone shape. The Faber-Castell Tri is also sold under various other manufacturers’ logos; e.g., General.

    General also sells the “Little Red All Art,” which delivers a cone-shaped point, but is a little less refined. Then again, it sells for about fifty cents.

    As for the best pencil, Lyra Robinsons sell for about $4 per dozen. For those who are fans of the old, extinct “Blackwing” (a good pencil, and undeniably collectible … but not worth $20 per pencil except as a collectors item), you will find the Lyra Robinson 2B hardness to be just what you’ve been looking for. It will be “love at first write.”

    Lyra Robinson is sold through the entire range of 6H (hardest lead) to HB (equivalent to a schoolroom “#2) down to 6B (softest lead).

    And, finally, that part about “licking the lead.” It has nothing to do with activating dye. People lick the lead (which, thank goodness is not actually made of lead) to moisten the graphite, which makes the pencil glide more easily over the paper. It has the effect of making an HB pencil write like a 2B pencil. My advice: save your tongue; buy a 2B pencil.

    Any more questions?

    BTW, the best web site I have found for pencil supplies is . They are one of the few suppliers I’ve found who carry “Lefties” (pencil sharpeners designed for counter-clockwise sharpening). Their staff are incredibly courteous, and if they ever make a mistake in what they ship you, they are extremely responsive and respectful of what it means to deliver good customer service. No, I don’t work for them; I’m an engineer and I just have a thing for anything that is thoughtfully made with high quality.

    Go to their web site write now !

  6. Hi!

    I was wondering if you could help me! I have been searching for AGES for a brown, brownish .05 or 2.0 mm lead for my pencils!!

    I have seen every colour in the rainbow but never a brown! zut alors!

    have you ever in your travels happened upon something like this!?

    thanks & cheers!
    German S.

  7. Hi German,

    Koh-I-Noor makes 2.0mm brown lead. In fact, I just ordered some (and other colours) this week. It hasn’t arrived yet, so I can’t comment on the quality.

  8. Hi!

    Just recently found this site, while looking into a new somewhat obsession of mine: Caran d’Ache pencils.

    And that leads me to my question. I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan, two very artistic and design oriented places… And yet I cannot find these mechanical pencils. I’ve even emailed Caran d’Ache to see if they can help. I know I can order online, but I want to try one first, before I fall in love completely. I am not looking for the higher end pieces. Just the standard $15-$20 mechanical pencils.

    Any thoughts???

  9. Have a box of Dixon Ticonderoga with ethan Allen calling out. On the back it has a coupon for a milemaster pen. Any help on dates.

  10. Hi,
    I found a Reliance Templar 777 #3 pencil the other day and was curious how these ranked with other pencils of the period. Also, when did they stop making these?

  11. I have some interesting pencils, which came indirectly from a relative who worked as a draughtsman for the (British) Air Ministry, in the 1950s.
    In my hand right now I have a round, plain wood-finish pencil stamped “Red Code No.48-14, S-O “utility”, it’s a rich, deep red colour.

    I wonder if you can direct me to any source of information about government-issue pencils? Who made this?………

    I just sent a huge parcel of pencils as a present to America, the recipient loves pencils and pictures of them, I’ll send her your site link..
    When she comes here in July, I have promised to take her to the Derwent Pencil factory and museum.

    Thanks for the site, I’m finding lots of interesting things to read.

  12. Thank you for the comments. There are a lot of former pencil manufacturers and brands, and I regret that I’m not able to offer anything helpful in reply to these recent queries.

  13. And thank-you for your reply, I’ll survive not knowing about these pencils, I was just curious.

    They came from an old man who taught me the rudiments of drawing, whenever I pick up a pencil, i think of him, of the way he patiently taught two small children, never losing his temper, always gentle, no matter how misbehaved and troublesome we were. We drew on the backs of blueprints, our simple drawings were backed by details of the wingroot structures of our country’s nuclear deterrents.
    I could probably have been a devastating five-year-old spy!

  14. Can I trade for a Tombow 2010 + possibly others? I have many fine vintage US, German pencils available as well as some new japanese pencils.

  15. Hello,

    The new look of Pencil Talk is great, but the text disappears off the right edge and does not evoke a scroll bar
    (I use the Mac OS X Safari browser). I trust this is not due to the “works best on MS Internet Explorer…” syndrome.
    Hope this gets fixed soon.


  16. Hi Dion, thanks for the comment. I own a Mac and a Linux laptop, but not a Windows PC, so this is definitely not “works best on MS Internet Explorer…” syndrome!

    The blog used to have two columns, and now has three. The text of the former was fixed width – 450 pixels most recently. Currently, it is flexible width, so people can adjust the page to their preference. The thinking is that with large monitors becoming commonplace, many people will want to make the screen wider. But, if you want to make it narrower than the width of the widest image – 500 pixels if memory serves (?), then the images don’t auto adjust (though some browsers may have options to do just that) and you will observe this spill over. I don’t see it as bad in the overall scheme, but you’re the second person to mention this, so I’ll keep an eye on the issue.

    Thanks for taking the time to mention this.

  17. Wow. I’m overwhelmed with the wealth of information on this website. My search is simple, yet I’ve been having difficult in finding precisely what I want. I am looking for an all black pencil. Black wood, black outer surface, black ferrule, and black eraser. I’d like most parts to be of uniform color, so I’m guessing matte black would be best? Are there any all black pencils to be found?

  18. Thats EXACTLY what I’m looking for! Now, next question is… Is there anything like that I can buy here in the states? I only came up with 2 results when I googled it, and they were both on the same site which I could not read…Chinese, Korean, Japanese language maybe? Is that type of pencil rare? I would figure there would be more of a market for something minimalist like that.

  19. Durimg my searches, I’ve come across some advertising companies that use that type pencil for blanks, but the sites are UK based. I wonder where they get supplied the blanks from? The pencils are called Black Knights, w or w/o erasers. As sold on these sites, they are required to be purchased in bulk, and with printing or logos on them.

  20. Staedtler appears to sell a discount pencil called the Rally. (I bought a box because the Lumograph at the store I went to only came in a set of varying hardnesses; I just wanted 2B.) How does this pencil relate to their other brands?

  21. Hi John, I believe the Rally is a discount tier pencil, like the Norica. I have a few that I’ve been meaning to write about at some point.

  22. Hi, this is fantastic site for pencil lovers.
    I’m looking for info about a LYRA pencil -possibly vintage- who recently came to my possession. I have got photos and description on
    Please see if you could help.

  23. I am looking a place where to buy the following:

    – 2.0 mm color leads from KOH-I-NOOR
    – 2.0 mm Leadholder model 5900 from KOH-I-NOOR

    Can somebody help me where to buy this goods.

    Thanks in advance


  24. Hello, everyone,

    I am new in this area.
    Have you guys seen or used Staedtler 925 85, a mechanical pencil?
    I see it prevalent in my circumference.
    Do you have some experiences on it?
    Why I cannot find it on the official website of Staetler?
    Is it out of season?

    Thank you!

  25. Adam, I have (and sometimes use) the Staedtler 925 85 05 – it is a high-quality pencil with the unusual “regulator” feature. It is only offered by Staedtler Japan and listed here (bottom of page).

  26. Hello,

    I am looking for a source for mechanical pencil collets in the .5 – 1.0mm range. Can you provide? Thanks.

  27. Dear Pencil Talk experts;

    I am looking for an Eberhard Faber #74 eraser. I work in the printing industry and one of our customers requires this eraser for a “rub test”. I am not an expert on pencils or erasers by any means and was hoping someone can tell me where I will find one or what an equivalent will be if the #74 eraser is not made any more.

    Could this #74 eraser possibly be the little eraser that used to top the Eberhard Faber pencils?

    Any help/guidance with this request is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for any and all help!



  28. I have just phoned Eberhard Faber Germany and learned that in the last 35 years there hasn’t been an eraser with that designation in Germany. Even if this isn’t of much help it may limit the scope of your search.

  29. Wow..just went through your site in detail…love it! As an old school pencil and eraser fanatic..I would like to ask you:

    I went to school in the early ’80’s in Saudi Arabia, to an American Embassy school. They gave us these yellow pencils called, ‘Venus’ that I just loved. (maybe more of nostalgia?). I don’t see them here in the U.S or Canada now. Do you have any idea who made them and what happened to them?

    The teachers would give all of us a new pencil every week, and more often if we lost or broke it. I managed to collect about six dozen of these pencils by the time I left. Unfortunately, a theft in our home left me pencil-less and heartbroken!

    Also, in Saudi we got pencils just like the yellow and black striped Staedtler ones you get now, except they were a nice shade of green. I don’t know who made them. (Again early 80’s)Would you know about these?

    Funny questions to be asking I know….but I guess since this goes back into my childhood, I was just curious.


  30. Hi Nal,

    Maybe someone else can answer more fully. The “yellow and black striped Staedtler”, but green, are a mystery to me.

    Venus is a brand of the former American Pencil Co. The Venus Velvet is one of their famous pencils. Anyone interested in exploring American pencil history and brands like the Velvet should read Henry Petroski’s The Pencil.

  31. I am trying to find a commercial pencil sharpener. One that will sharpen thousands of pencils a day and possibly be automated. I understand it is not a huge industry to be in, but is anyone aware of any company that sells or manufactures these. OR maybe even some used ones in the US from shut down pencil plants.


  32. Hi,

    I’d like to find a stick type eraser to replace the discontinued Eberhard Faber “EraserStik” 7099B. (It was a pencil like eraser with some abrasives in the rubber).

    So far, I haven’t found any stick erasers with abrasives in the rubber. (I haven’t tried the Faber-Castel “Perfection” line yet though, just saw them online).

    I’m using them with urethane and acrylic paint (on metal), to delicately remove and lighten areas like you would on a pencil drawing, but on airbrushed paint instead.

    Thanks for any info………….Pete

  33. Thanks for the question, Peter.

    I don’t have any specific knowledge of your area, but there are a very large number of industrial erasers on the market, apart from those aimed at graphite on paper. See here for example. Maybe something from that range might help?

  34. Thanks, I had already contacted the Eraser (fiberglass/brass brush) company. I was a little concerned about glass dust in my eyes and nose, guess you just have to be careful when you blow the dust away! I’m going to try a glass and soft brass brush.

    Faber-Castel is also sending me some samples of the most abrasive eraser pencil they have left in their line, their 7058. The woman I spoke to said I was the second person in a couple of days asking the same question, about the demise of the 7099B. I said there were even some “old stock” 7099B’s on eBay, but I’m not paying $12 + shipping PER eraser pencil, that’s for sure…..Thanks again….Pete

  35. If you come to Maine, I will give you some old venus Pencils I have….your old friend, patty

  36. Hi! Do you know about Kuelox pencils? I was reading your blog this morning and when I went out tried to find myself a couple of pencils. I got a Kuelox and if you want one, I think I could arrange to send you one. :) Cheers! Happy Anniversary!

  37. Do you have any information about “non photo” blue pencils?

    I have a non-photo blue pencil (and no idea where I got it from), it says “Eberhard Faber Copy Not 151 Non-Photo Blue”.I’m doing a science fair project involving the pencil and I can’t find any websites with information besides office supply distributors…

  38. I was wondering anyone might be able to help, I am desperately looking for a simple yellow pencil that on the side ( in caps lock in a single line) says MADE IN CANADA, they were in use in schools and were as common as pennies, apparently not anymore…

    I need it for an art project that i have been doing with pencils… you might be interested to see when it is done. Thank you, Rachel

  39. Years ago I was given (and lost!) an Italian pencil which had a pigment based not on graphite, but it must have contained potassium pemangenate as, when wet, it produced a purple stain. Can anybody identify?

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