My Collection – Photos and Commentary

War Drawing

During World War II in Great Britain, there was severe rationing, including of materials used in the manufacture of pencils. Each pencil company seems to have produced a bare-basics War Drawing brand. 

Click for larger image

Represented here are Pencils Limited, Egerton, Venus, Rowney, Hardtmuth, a generic, and Royal Sovereign. (The bottom two show the reverse of the previous two.)


15 responses

  1. These are fantastic! Something else to keep an eye out for…

    May 16, 2011 at 1:58 am


      I have an example of the Sovereign war drawing pencil , it has never been sharpened.

      August 6, 2011 at 8:21 am

  2. Anonymous

    I have found the top pencil in the photo. It has been sharpened down to the i in pencil.

    October 24, 2014 at 4:29 am

  3. carol willock.

    my grandfather was an artist. during the first world war he was in the royal fusiliers and drew lots of sketches with these pencils. i have a lot of these of which most have been sharpened and are now very small in length , as he liked to draw with short one.

    April 30, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    • I think these probably date from the second world war, but maybe there were similar ones around for both wars.

      May 3, 2015 at 7:21 pm

  4. Gordon Wright

    Can anyone tell me the maker of the top one?

    I have seven of them, never sharpened, all in mint condition

    February 10, 2016 at 11:19 am

    • I believe “Pencils Limited” is the name of the company.

      February 11, 2016 at 5:49 pm

  5. All right, I give. Only wanted the correct name or term for the metal finial at the end of, e.g. eagle, Wallace, general color pencils.
    Any help here? Thanks-phil

    February 18, 2016 at 6:02 am

    • Well, the piece of metal (usually) that holds the eraser to the end of pencil is called a “ferrule.” But, perhaps disappointingly, I think the metal end-piece on pencils such as you describe is usually just called a “metal tip,” or sometimes “cap.” Pencils that have nothing on the end are (at least in vintage catalogues and on boxes) called “untipped.”

      I have always thought it is odd and confusing that the back end is called the tip, since we also call the sharpened pointy end a pencil tip. But I suppose “back end” is not very appealing.
      What might be a better name for that end of a pencil?

      February 19, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      • Thank you. This site is alive with a real person. Assuming it is Fred. I’m new to this can you direct me to proper books or publications that educate?
        Also I have received a order notification from your ‘pencils for sale’ entity, and am waiting for shipment. Then I will pick out more items I most likely do not need, only want because they’re interesting.

        February 20, 2016 at 1:21 pm

      • Phil –
        Yes, I am Fred.
        I have nothing to do with any pencils for sale offers on other sites. As far as I know, my site doesn’t link directly to any selling. (I will check for no-longer-appropriate links.) I don’t allow any buying or selling in comments.
        As far as pencil education goes, there’s quite a bit out there, if you keep following links and searching. You can also join the American Pencil Collectors Society. If you’re at all interested in pencil history, I recommend a book by Henry Petroski called The Pencil.

        February 20, 2016 at 8:13 pm

  6. Frank Byder

    Hello from Sweden. Is the 48-52 Royal Sov. a Red – Blue?
    ps private message to Fred…
    Do you have many Scandinavian (Swedish, Norwegian or Danish) brand name pencils? Contact me if you are interested in trading?

    July 21, 2016 at 5:29 am

    • Hi.
      The S O 48-52 is actually the reverse side of the 3H War Drawing above it; it is not the Royal Sovereign (which is the reverse of the 4H above it), and so it is not red/blue.
      I do have one Swedish and one Norwegian red/blue pencil on display — see the Collections/ Red|Blue page, third photo from the bottom.
      I have only a few other pencils from those two countries, but a couple dozen Viking from Denmark. Sorry, I’m not doing trading, thanks.

      July 21, 2016 at 11:19 pm

      • Frank Byder

        That’s too bad i was hoping you could get me the Mikado – Mirado “post pearl harbor” pencil.
        I am wondering about usage of your pictures you have displayed. Do i need to contact you for permission.
        I would like to discuss my project with you but i would like to ask you privately.

        July 24, 2016 at 9:35 pm

  7. Wes

    This site has come as a bit of a surprise as I have just searched the words “War Drawing” off a pencil i have found belonging to my late granddad, who just happened to have been called Fred :-). Granddad worked for Vickers at Brooklands during WWII as a tool maker for the Wellington. As a kid he would tell me about working with Barnes Wallace. Unfortunately all records of that time were lost towards the end of the 20th century in a fire or flood so I’ll never know if this pencil I have was used to sketch the bouncing bomb! but I can hope/dream.

    January 5, 2017 at 5:20 am

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