I have espoused to you before my great love of the wooden pencil. Now that I am on a short break from school I am going to get down to some straight blogging. First post will be about one of my great passions, the wooden pencil. Today’s subject, as the title suggests, is The Dixon Ticonderoga #2 HB yellow pencil.
This is THE yellow pencil. is what people think of when they think of pencils. That wonderful school yellow, the smell of cedar, a nice pinkish eraser…brings up great memories of Ms. Norris and Ms. Gentry/Carmona in their various grades at John H. Allen Elementary School, Soddy Daisy Tennessee.
I cannot explain to you the love of pencils, maybe I am just a technophobe (I have some pens as well that are not by any means standard, but its the pencil that I love) this is my drug. It is like that feeling when a pain killer kicks in, there is a thrill to a new pencil. My wife got The Ganger a subscription to CW Pencil Enterprises Pencil of the Month club. The last year they will be doing of the club as a matter of fact. I have considered going into this enterprise for myself, I will think it over. Anyhow for me pencils are euphoria, and the wonderful ladies at CW Pencil Enterprises, New York City, are a bastion of civilization. I am planning a train trip to New York soon and that will be worth of a post all to itself.
People discover this obsession in various ways. For my good friend Carl it was rather by accident. He observed my engaging my senses with a pencil…in other words I forgot he was in the room when I decided to smell a pencil (most likely a Ticonderoga) what could I do but tell him to smell it. His response, in true Carl fashion, was to smell the pencil and say “yep that is a number two pencil.) For my peers at school they either observe my locking pencil case, or in the case of Andrew, he was nearly knocked off the walkway when I crossed by him suddenly to snatch an abandoned pencil off the ground. For the rest of that class the moment arrived when they found out they would need pencils to complete the final, pencils they didn’t have as they all carry pens, and i was able to shout “MY DAY HAS COME!” while holding up my pencil case. However the moment comes for you when your friends and family realize that you are a Crayonophile (working custom term) you will learn who truly loves you.
The Dixon Ticonderoga company was founded in or around 1795 by Joseph Dixon. They do make other pencils than just Ticonderoga, usually under the name Dixon, but this is all about the Ticonderoga. The name Ticonderoga didn’t come in until 1815, thats where the Graphite Ore was processed, Ticonderoga New York. For a long time the packaging sported an awesome picture of a minute man. I speculate that this is an obvious reference to all the ‘Merica reference to Fort Ticonderoga. The Ticonderoga pencil began being cranked out in New Jersey (around the time the name came about) and became an American Staple.
Now for that American part…The pencil is no longer manufactured in America. However I have not noticed a downturn in quality from the globalization of this pencils manufacture. I have not found any sources that say that their foreign labor practices are unfair or equate to slavery so with those concerns put to rest, we won’t get into my thoughts on outsourcing jobs, we will just accept that we live in a global world ( you are reading a blog…).
The Ticonderoga’s stats.
- Length: 7.7 inches
- diameter: 3 centimeters (best measurement I will improve soon)
- color: yellow
- logo: green
- ferule: this is where the signature of the maker is to be found (at least in this instance) the Ticonderoga ferule is always green with two yellow bands at the top and bottom, making Ticonderoga pencils instantly identifiable.
- Material: PEFC certified cedar
- Special features: one of Ticonderoga’s features is that their pencils finish has Microban, which prevents the growth of bacteria on the pencil (they intend for you to have them for a while.
- The hardness claims to be HB. Pencil grading is not an exact science. I choose to use the HB scale (chart found on pencils.com) and I check my pencils against the scale physically. I agree this one is close to HB give or take a grade.
With all the grading scales out there the words “Number 2 pencil” do not really mean a lot. However in this case the pencil, in my opinion, rates HB as in hard and black. Later you will see number two pencils that will easily fall into the 8 or 9 range. Basically the harder the pencil the less of a mark it will leave, and the less it will need to be sharpened. The softer the pencil the darker the mark with less pressure, but the more you will need to sharpen it.
**UPDATE** I forgot to say this earlier. Fun historical note. This was the favorite pencil of author Roald Dhal. When he went back to England he had them shipped over.
The Ticonderoga #2, HB yellow pencil (note I did not say soft) is in conclusion always a winner. I would call it a 4 star pencil, but I will give it 5 for consistency. The eraser is everything that you need. I usually keep stick erasers around because I hate to have a pencil with no eraser on it, but this nice pink number will take away the mistake with little streaking. That is the point (take what you will from the pun) the fancy pencils might have some faults or something quirky about them, but the Ticonderoga is almost always consistent and you can get them for a reasonable price…depending on where you look. The standard I’ve seen is about three dollars to twelve pencils, but at a Walgreens I saw them for eight dollars for 12 which is ridiculous. This teachers dream can even be found in nice large bulk boxes and one day I will buy one just for the fun of it. Grab a Ticonderoga and engage your senses. If you love pencils you will keep this in your arsenal the way that I do. Get these in your adventure pack.
Hrolf The Ganger