10 Pencils That Disappeared and Why We Wish They Hadn’t

We’re no strangers to out-of-print pencils.  Many pencils have come and gone over the years – many pencils disappear for good reason.  There are, however, many great pencil models that went out-of-print before their time.

(For more information on vintage pencils, check out these blogs. That’s where we go.)

Van Dyke 601


Referred to on the ‘net as the Blacking 602’s cousin, the Van Dyke 601 was an Eberhard-Faber yellow pencil sporting a black two-piece ferrule, just like the classic Blackwing design.  The 601 was one of Eberhard-Faber’s most popular pencils, but the pencil fell by the wayside when the company replaced the Van Dyke brand name with a new “Microtomic” line.  Read more about the 601’s history here.

IBM Electrographic Marking Pencil


IBM’s electrographic marking pencils were made specifically for test-scanning machines that used mark recognition.  Their cores are made of ultra-fine graphite, which supposedly provides for exceptionally smooth and dark marks.  The technology involved with these pencils is long obsolete, and therefore the market for these pencils is too weak to justify their production. 

Blaisdell Calculator 600


Dating back to the 1930’s, the Blaisdell Calculator 600 was a rounded pencil with ‘Special Grade’ lead that marked similarly to the Blackwing 602.  Pencil enthusiasts scan the corners of the Internet for these vintage pencils made for endurance. 

Tombow Monotech


Mechanical pencils are quite popular in Japan.  The Tombow Monotech is a sleek, futuristic mechanical pencil from the 1990’s produced in Japan for animation and other fine point purposes.  Check out the lead gradient indicator near the grip – this lead pencil can take 0.3, 0.5, 0.7 and 0.9 mm lead.  Super unique!

Richard Best Futura Tri-Rex


The Richard Best Pencil Co. trademarked the Tri-Rex barrel shape, an innovative pencil shape that paved the way for the triangular pencil found in so many kindergarten classrooms today.  The Moon pencil company eventually bought Richard Best, but its pencil designs are lavish and smooth.  The Futura model, whose hardness was available in 1, 2, F, 3, and 4, is dressed to impress with its sleek colorway and design. 

Venus Velvet 528


The American Lead Pencil Co. began producing high-end pencils around the time of World War I.  They equipped many of their luxury pencils with a giant ferrule not dissimilar to the Blackwing 602 ferrule.  Their Venus pencil line was meant to appeal to architects and artists with fine points and hefty erasers.  We have little indication of how the Venus Velvet 528 might write, but look at that ferrule!

Blaisdell Ben Franklin 500


What might be Blaisdell’s most notorious product, the Ben Franklin 500, is an often-overlooked vintage pencil.  Its trademark is the thin white strip of paint on its ferrule – a subtle sign of high-class craftsmanship.  According to the Perfect Pencil blog, the Ben Franklin writes smoothly with a long-lasting, durable No. 3 lead.  It’s a distinguished yellow pencil, bearing the name of one of the nation’s most revered historical icons.

Eberhard Mongol 482


Eberhard’s yellow Mongol 482 doesn’t quite have the prestige of the Blackwing – or even the Van Dyke – but it harkens back to the days when yellow pencils weren’t low-quality commodities.  Its black print and ferrule make for a striking bee-like colorway that demands attention.

Caran D’Ache Technograph 777


Caran D’Ache made the Technograph 777 for serious sketchers and drafters.  Once available from 9H to 6B, this high-quality pencil fell by the wayside as Caran D’Ache focused its production efforts on luxury pencils.  Though Technographs are still in production, they are extremely limited. 

A.W. Faber USA Black Flyer 4500


A.W. Faber’s Black Flyer went under with its manufacturer, but find one today and you’ll be amazed by the pencil’s smoothness.  The Black Flyer 4500, with its sleek design and quality marking, is testament to the high-quality one finds in a vintage pencil. 

What discontinued pencils do you wish were still available today?  Let us know – drop a comment.

13 replies
  1. Valarie Wolf
    Valarie Wolf says:

    Have you ever heard of those big fat ‘BUD’ pencils? They were areound in the 1960’s. Also I remember Square Deal’ pencils from around the same time. They were square in shape with a white eraser holder at the end….

  2. suzbil
    suzbil says:

    I’d like to see a comeback of Venus Be-Bop pencils. Back in the 1960s, I used to buy them at my elementary school’s student store. They came in bright Day-Glo orange, pink, yellow, and green. “Be-Bop” and music notes were stamped on the pencils in black. They were good pencils and fun besides. I was partial to the orange.

  3. Robert Konshak
    Robert Konshak says:

    Wallace used to make a pencil called Special Dispatch, no. 251. They are very black and soft, a real pleasure to write with. Long out of production, I’ve stashed away as many as I could find and am always keeping any eye out for any more I could find.

  4. Ray Folley
    Ray Folley says:

    I have an old Ben Franklin Pencil Box with green pencils. The writing is made

    Others have 3B, 5H, 6H, 6 H GERMANY

  5. Steve Bonner
    Steve Bonner says:

    I still have a ‘Black Beauty’ 876 Thick Bonded Lead Pencil from when I was at Infant School. (This was in the mid 1960’s).

    Much favoured by my Dragon of a teacher for rapping you across the knuckles for minor misdemeanours….

  6. etm567
    etm567 says:

    I just misspoke on another website when I said Mirado Black Warriors used to be just plain Black Warriors. I knew they weren’t Mirado, and I knew they were better pencils, but I did not remember that they were Eagle. I worked at a commodities trading company in the NY Mercantile Exchange on the trading floor, and no other pencil was allowed, essentially. When I tried a Black Warrior recently, it had little physical resemblance, but I really couldn’t tell about how well it writes, as I haven’t been using pencils under lots of pressure and at the greatest speed possible while maintaining legibility since about 1980. And those were the qualities for which that pencil was valued — speed, smoothness, speed and legibility; basically how fast you could write something and have it be legible without needing to fix anything.


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