The History of the Bullet Pencil

Bullet pencils, as the name suggests, are pencils whose casings are made from spent rifle cartridges. They originated on battlefields in the early nineteenth century, and were sold as souvenirs. .303 British rifle casings were the most commonly used. As British colonialism spread in Africa, the industry of battlefield souvenirs boomed. Opportunistic scavengers-turned-entrepreneurs picked over […]

Bonded Lead

Obscure Pencil Terms and What They Mean

If you’ve spent time lurking through the Pencil Internet, you’ve probably come across some terms that have made you scratch your head. Like most enthusiast scenes, the pencil world is full of obscure pencil terms and jargon that can intimidate the novice pencil hobbyist. We’re going to pave your entryway into the world of pencils by […]

Sampson Mordan Mechanical Pencil

A Brief History of the Mechanical Pencil

Despite what David Rees claims in Chapter 11 of How to Sharpen Pencils, mechanical pencils do have their place in the pencilverse. Surprisingly, this wonder of pencil technology has actually existed in one form or another for the better part of five centuries. If you take a look at pencil history, you will see that the first […]

General Pencil Company

A Brief History of the General Pencil Company

The General Pencil Company has manufactured pencils since 1889.  Withstanding the World Wars, recessions, hurricanes and new ages of technology, the General Pencil Company has proven itself to be a survivor in an economic climate that tends to push out domestic manufacturers. Oscar A. Weissenborn founded the General Pencil Company in Jersey after his father […]

The Rise and Fall of the Yellow Pencil: Part 2

The historical intent of painting a pencil yellow as a reflection of high quality is considered out of date and yellow pencils are increasingly viewed as a low value commodity segment.   – [Source] In Part 1, we discussed the yellow pencil’s rise to national icon.  We found that the now-common writing staple once had quite […]


The Copying Pencil & It’s History

Doug Martin’s Pencil Pages provides a very thorough and the most informative article I’ve ever read regarding the Copying Pencil. The article entitled, “The Copying Pencil: Composition, History, and Conservation Implications” which was written by Liz Dube, Conservator of the University of Notre Dame Libraries. The article was orignally published in “The Book and Paper Group […]