The Pencil Stash

I have loved pencils for a very long time. My favorites were always the good Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencils. I can remember using them in elementary school all the way through college and I just appreciated that they were made so well. There were several times where I can just remember using inferior pencils that were difficult to sharpen. The points broke off constantly and they just barely did the job.

At some point, probably in about 1998 I was working as an Engineer at Lucent Technologies and one night at the office supply store I bought up a gross or more of my trusty Dixon Ticonderoga's (somewhere in there a friend of mine gave me a couple of Eberhard Faber Blackwing 602's, I gave him a couple of my Dixons in an even up trade. I liked the way the 602's wrote but the strange ferrule did not win me over. For my engineer friend the lack of strange ferrule did not win him over but we each respected the other's pencil happiness.

I found that my pencils were a part of my ritual for troubleshooting, designing and educating that gave me a moment to think. Sometimes just stopping to sharpen a pencil (that often did not quite need it yet) was the introspective moment of thought that I needed. This strange little eccentric quirk of mine got noticed by my coworkers and friends alike. I even started giving out pencils as gifts. Somewhere in there luckily I restocked my stash and included some of the other hardnesses of Dixon Ticonderogas that were available. and then without anybody telling me or asking my permission. Dixon was acquired by Fila group and the Versailles, Missouri plan was closed (and about 200 US jobs were lost). It seems strange to me that a pencil that is named after an american fort and for so long was shrouded in USA military zeal and such should get off-shored. I have not problem with the pencils being made off shore really. They are just not of the same quality as the USA made ones were. I have tried many of the newer Dixon Ticonderoga's and frankly they lack in quality. They are not quite the generic break every time you try and sharpen variety but they are close.

Ever since this has happened I have been on a quest to find that one perfect pencil that I can use. That pencil that I can buy and always know exactly what to expect. My stash of Dixon Ticonderoga's is running very short. I have been making them last as long as possible and have even become a bit of a collector of vintage pencils (especially DT).

This explains my stash, my obsession and my quest. I am not a pencil industry expert though I am learning quite a bit. I am just a pencil customer who relied on his favorite writing product and much like other stories I have read out there was caught off guard when it was no longer available.

Nearly mint box of circa 1937 Dixon Ticonderoga 2 5/10 pencils, I do not plan to sharpen any of these.
Two of my three boxes of number 2 and number 3 Dixon's circa 1950's from the best I can tell. These babies write nicely.

Some of my remaining stock of the last generation of NOS Dixon Ticonderogas. I had recently fallen in love with the black and Woodgrain editions just prior to the 2004 closing of the USA factory.