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. Is there a pencil that has the same graphite composition as the Blackwing 602 ?

  2. Hi! I hope this post is not too off-topic, but a few years back, Maybelline cosmetics company stopped making one of their eyebrow pencil colors: CHARCOAL GREY

    It is not just grey, it is between grey and taupe, and was the perfect color for many women, and we all blogged about the discontinued color and petitioned the manufacturer, to no avail. It is still possible to buy this color eyebrow pencil on Ebay, at a ridiculous price of $8 per pencil, and they are selling.

    My idea/request to all of you that have such an esoteric interest in fine pencils, is that you could market such a product, if it were a close enough copy. One of the best things about the Maybelline eyebrow pencil was that it would not go on too dark. I’m guessing that was probably due to a higher wax to particulate concentration. Maybelline used to sell them in two-packs that cost around 3 to 4 dollars.

    Enterprising entrepreneurs would have to first obtain the original product to exactly copy the color and consistency. I hope someone decides to provide for this niche market.


  3. Where can I get tons of used up wooden encils to recycle into art?
    Ingram Middle School teacher

  4. I am looking for #4 pencils, Mirado (Mirado Classic 174 USA 2H 4) and Eberhard Faber (Velvet 3557 4 2H) made them in the past. Are they available anewhere???????

  5. Looking for Eberhard Faber 600 Pencil with chisel point lead
    4B,2B,HB, 2H,4H and 6H.



  6. I found an old (and heavy) Boston “Vacuum Mount” pencil sharpener at a local thrift store last night. It was just $3 U.S. and still sharpens to a very sharp point. The base is grey. It has to be at least 50 years old. I have a newer one from the 80’s and it is much lighter with much more plastic.

  7. I used to love, l-o-v-e, the Derwent Drawing pencils. For quite a few years I was able to soak the pencil line of my drawings into the paper by laying the paper in a tub of water for a bit. However, the newer pencils smear horribly when I try to soak the paper. Any idea what happened to the Derwent recipe? Anyone have an alternative to that pencil?

  8. Hi all,

    I’m from Europe (Catalonia) and I’ll travel to Washington DC in few days.
    I would like to buy some USA pencils while there. Pencils like Ticonderoga and General pencil or the Blackwing (if available).
    Does anybody know a good stationary shop in Bethesda (MD)/Washington DC to purchase these or other interesting pencils?



  9. Dear sirs,
    I would like to know where to buy Dermatographs grease pencils? Thank you. Edilton

  10. Joan, the Ticonderoga can be purchased at any of the “big box” office supply stores such as Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, etc. I would suggest doing a Google or Yahoo search for art supply stores in that area, and then contact them to see if they carry General or the new Blackwing.

  11. I meant to relate that I found an interesting metal pencil box (with checkerboard pattern) at a local “Office Depot” store in the U.S. I imagine they are being sold for back to school. They hold quite a few pencils being 21 cm x 13 cm x 6 cm. I may go back a get a few more. The website for the source is:

  12. David O.

    Thank you *very* much for your help. Names like office depot, or office max, or staples were unknown to me. Now I’m writing this from Washington DC and I located Office Depot and Staples in my map. It seems they don’t sell the Palomino but I have good chance to acquire the common Dixon.
    Isn’t this Blog and its people great?


  13. I have a some IBM Electrographic Mark Sensing Pencils. I understand that they are collectable. Would anyone know what they may be worth?

  14. I have a question please.
    I have an old (1947) English Silver Mechanic Pencil.
    I want to take it apart.
    How do I do that without breaking anything.
    Thank you,

  15. Hello. I wonder if anyone has had trouble contacting Mr. Tanimoto of Bundoki. I’ve been trying to place an order but without response. I hope that he is okay after all the unfortunate events in Japan.

  16. This is an interesting find. I was at a thrift store today, and was able to purchase a never opened package of eight Made in the USA “Eagle Mirror 169” No. 2 pencils. Eagle was a division of Berol at this time from the package labeling. The package shows a picture of a young woman, and looks to date from the late 60’s/early 70’s. The ferrules are gold colored with multiple ribs (first time I’ve seen that). It seems to be marketed at women specifically. I didn’t realized that they did that with something like wood pencils.

  17. NaNoWriMo is coming up pretty soon. Anyone planning on using pencil for it (or at least a fair fraction of it)? I’m thinking of primarily typing it, but doing all my preliminary planning in pencil.

  18. hallo

    ben in bezit van een lederen etui met (heel oud) zilveren sluiting waarin een kokertje met potloodstiftjes plm. 2 cm lang plm. ½ cm omtrek diam. gemerkt A W Faber en op de kopeinden een E

    zou hier graag iets meer van weten, is er iemand die dit herkend
    bij voorbaat vriendelijk dank, mart doggenaar

  19. Very interesting! It looks like the result would resemble using a pocket knife to sharpen a pencil.


  21. I simply check the site, Faeorain. I don’t believe that subscribing to a feed is possible (famous last words).

  22. Another recent thrift store find just yesterday. It is a complete set of twelve Made in the USA “Sanford” No. 2 Eagle pencils. The package copyright is 1998. They look to be made out of a non-wood material. I may have already snagged one or two of these in the past.

  23. I found five twelve-packs of Eagle Turquoise Chemi-sealed drawing pencils. They appear to be from the late 1950’s (?). Are they of any value, or should I set a couple aside and use the rest?

  24. The thrift store finds continue. This time is 4 dozen unsharpened of the Made in USA Berol “Integrity” No. 2 new old stock cedar pencils. The box notes “Made from Incense Cedar” which explains the lack of fragrance. Still, a nice writing pencil and quite light. The erasers are still fine. The “Integrity” name looks to come from the Empire Pencil Company line (from The quality of these pencils is mainly a thing of the past now.

  25. I currently own a Rotring 600 and am looking for a mechanical pencil that has some weight to it. What do you recommend?

  26. Vikram, I enjoyed those two videos. We are of a similar mind I guess. I used to get and use Jay’s potato chip pencils at the start of each school year growing up in the Chicago area. I think that they were taped to the outside of the bags. They are all gone now alas. I do have some Hewlett-Packard pencils from attending their test equipment seminars in the 1980’s. Their test equipment business later became know as Agilent.
    I bet you don’t have a never opened package of Eagle “Mirror” pencils! :) They appear to have been aimed at young women – mainly based on the package design with a young woman’s late 60’s/early 70’s image. The ferrule is gold tinted with multiple rings, not the usual 3 distinct sections. Eagle was a division of Berol at the time.
    My favorite remains the Sanford Mirado No.2. of the late 90’s for many reasons. I am “down to” around 37 of them now after finding some more a couple of times. I wish that I’d bought more boxes of 72 from “Sam’s Club” when I had the chance in the late 90’s. I will make good use of my ebay pencil extenders when the time comes.
    Interesting story on the Sanford American. I have one example that is definitely cedar, then at some point in the late 90’s they went to a recycled material that smells like my old art room in grade school (hard to describe – maybe some glue?).

  27. Hello Penciltalk-

    I’m an orchestra librarian who is nuts over pencils called Alpheus Music Writers. They are non-mechanical pencils with dark, soft lead, of a standard size and they are equipped with oversized eraser heads. They aren’t made anymore, but I happened to stumble upon a small cache of them. If I mailed you a few, would you be able to recommend a similar pencil?


  28. I recently bought some old stock (never opened) Faber Castell American 2.5 pencils online. They have been made in the 80’s and seem to be made from red cedar as they are dark with strong cedar fragrance. I may like them more than the Eberhard Faber American pencils I have.
    I really like the way they write and feel. The hexagon shape is very rounded off. At this point, I think that I have enough pencils for 5 lifetimes…

  29. The artists who check this site should enjoy this column by Henry Petroski (author of ‘The Pencil A History of Design and Circumstance’):

    The ‘Design News’ hardcopy version of the magazine notes that you can also email him at (will write everything out to counter the webbots):
    henry dot petroski at mindspring dot com

    I’ve got at least couple more of his books on engineering history. He’s up to 17 books now, and is a professor of Civil Engineering and History.

    Amazing that the ‘The Pencil’ has been out for 20 years now.

  30. Hi,

    I’m looking for more pencils that product ptich black lines (not charcoal), either wax or graphite or anything else.

    So far I have Mitsubishi Hi-Uni and Pierre noires, are there any more? (the steadler 8B is kinda dark but nowhere near pierre noire). Thank you!

  31. What are you wanting?
    Are you looking for a recommendation or for someone to sell you something?

  32. Hi Aurelie,

    It is difficult to make such a recommendation because, of the few pencils that I’ve found to leave what I consider to be a ‘true black’ mark, all of them seem to make use of charcoal/carbon in their formula. (but I’m not a chemist ;-)

    I have tried Faber Castell’s PITT oil-based pencils. They produce a lovely black and their site refers to them as a “monochrome crayon”. I don’t know if they are the same as Castell’s “Schwarz Black soft”, but they might be. Five different hardness grades are available, from No. 1 Extra Soft to No. 5 Hard.
    Here is the product link for Etas Unis:

    Your right, the Staedtler 8B is a dark one, but the Pierre Noire is a better choice.

    Koh-I-Noor made a wonderful pencil called the “Negro”. It also came in five hardness designations but is now long gone. One can still find the same lead offered in a soft 5.6mm version for clutch pencils and I believe the name has been changed to “Nero”.

    I wish I could be more help than that.
    For artists, finding good materials is an uphill battle sometimes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *