A Pencil Story

Posted: 20th July 2010 by Mike Swickey in ArchivedSite

You know you’re really excited about analog when you can read with excitement, as I did, an article about a pencil. The Pencil Revolution closes the year with a guest post by Michael Leddy with a nice piece on the 100th birthday of the Faber-Castell 9000, a green pencil with a long history wonderfully brought to life by Leddy of Orange Crate Art.

Update July, 2010: Link is broken on article mentioned above.

How could you not love an article that begins with such pangs for simpler times?

My love of “supplies” — pencils, pens, notebooks — goes back to Saturday morning trips with my father and brother to Alan’s Stationers in Brooklyn. My dad was (and is) a meticulous artist, and his affection for tools and materials was something I picked up on very early. I remember my own early “supplies” very well — a series of miniature Carter’s dip pens, which came packaged with miniature bottles of ink; a Scripto mechanical pencil; dozens of Venus coloring pencils; and a gray “T-Ball Jotter” (I never thought of it as a Parker) with thick, fragrant blue ink.

As I’ve gotten older, the fascination of “supplies” has fused with my deep affection for the artifacts of what I like to call “the dowdy world” — modern American life before it was refigured (or disfigured) by certain forms of technology. My affection for supplies has become, of necessity, an affection for what is largely past. As I’m writing these words, I’m looking at a Mongol ad from the 1950s, framed on the wall to my right:

Your Best Buy’s
MONGOL
2,162 words
for
one cent

In the dowdy world, people took their pencils seriously.

Nice piece from Michael Leddy who blogs regularly at Orange Crate Art.