My Collection – Photos and Commentary

About Fred’s Pencils

Welcome to FRED’S PENCILS

A site for pencil enthusiasts, all collectors, and anyone who likes to see cool old stuff

I have collected pencils as a hobby for more than 30 years.  Now my pencil collection is very large and diverse, and I’ve pretty much stopped acquiring new items.  It’s high time I started sharing what I have with the world!  Rather than showing things en masse, this site will display bits of my collection grouped in interesting ways, accompanied by lighthearted commentary.

Brand-name wooden pencils are the heart of my collection and the primary focus of this blog.   But purists may at first be shocked and appalled that I sometimes include used pencils (wimp!*), advertising pencils (phht!), mechanical pencils (whatever), and maybe even a ball-point pen (nooooo!!!).  In time, you will see the method to my madness.

I plan to add posts to this blog at least once a week, so visit often.

You are welcome to contribute comments.  General comments can go on this page.

I hope you enjoy my blog! 

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Blog Log

May 3, 2011          FRED’S PENCILS goes public!

June 1          Collection Pages started

July 17, 2012          20,000th click received

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64 responses

  1. Please do not leave comments about selling things or about other personal business.

    October 7, 2011 at 8:36 am

    • Nice blog, Fred!

      Jon (“Leadhead”)Veley

      April 3, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      • Thanks! Yours is impressive.

        April 3, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    • Ann Linton Anderson

      Linton Pencil was owned by Venus at one point and the Venus brand pencils were manufactured there so it is not so strange that the art pencils “changed brands”.

      January 25, 2016 at 9:46 am

      • This is the latest reply on this site. Is the site still operable?

        February 18, 2016 at 5:43 am

    • charles

      Is there somewhere I can do that?

      September 7, 2017 at 11:45 am

  2. Anonymous

    Hi Fred,

    I was just given a collectible coca-cola pencil as a gift. It’s the one with the plastic eraser holder that you have a picture of on your website and I was just looking for some information and history of the pencil. Thanks.

    November 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    • All I can say is that the plastic ferrule (eraser holder) marks it as WWII-vintage. At that time, metals were prioritized for the war effort.

      November 14, 2011 at 6:55 pm

  3. Anonymous

    Hi there, great blog, lots of interesting pencils.

    I find it very difficult to find vintage pencils, rarely see anything interesting on ebay, and virtually never at yard sales. Where on earth do you find them? Very frustrating for a pencil freak like me.

    November 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    • I don’t actively seek pencils anymore. But I did obtain many vintage pencils through eBay (originally called Auction Web), especially in the early years when there was little competition for brand-name pencils and ephemera. I also got vintage pencils, over many years, from old office-supply stores, other pencil collectors, collectors of various things in different countries, the Paris flea markets, and my grandmother’s house. I found very little at garage sales, antique stores, and U.S. swap meets.

      November 22, 2011 at 11:31 pm

  4. margaret

    Hello, thank goodness I stumbled over your site. I have a Venus Pencil Co Ltd #6156 but it’s a pen! I bought it because my business life started in the 1950’s using pen & ink. It also has 1-1/2″ cork piece which holds the nib & parts in place. There is I think a part which would hold ink which fits under the nib. The entire pen measures 8″ and tapers at the far end. Really a mystery. Wondered if you would have any thoughts. Thank you in advance.

    May 6, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    • What you have is a dip pen holder (the pointy metal piece that tucks in there being the dip pen or nib). Most of the major pencil companies made them. Eventually I may show my collection of them here.

      May 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      • margaret

        Thank you very much, no longer have to scratch my head!

        May 11, 2012 at 12:15 pm

  5. Jake

    Hi Fred! I’m a writer and I would love to do an interview with you about your outstanding collection, and about the pencil collecting culture. Please shoot me an email when you get a chance. Thanks!

    July 25, 2012 at 4:06 am

  6. trixieindixie

    Hi Fred, I love your site – it brings back memories of school! I have a question that came up on Google+ about ordinary yellow pencils sold in the US decades ago. The person who posted asked if anyone remembered the pencils that looked like wood, and sharpened like ordinary pencils, but were not pure wood, or maybe not wood at all, but something smoother than wood when sharpened. I recall pencils like this when I was in school in the 70s. These pencils were somewhat bendable, unlike a standard wood pencil that would break if you tried to bend it. Do you have any of these or remember what they were, and if so, do you know what they were made of?

    August 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    • Google “epcon pencil”

      August 3, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      • Thank you so much for the response to my question – I found all kinds of interesting information and history about the Epcon pencils!

        August 10, 2012 at 11:32 am

      • See also this from lexikaliker.

        August 12, 2012 at 10:47 pm

  7. shannon

    i found your site facinating and wounderful to check out. i too, am a collector of pencils . i dont have the history of anything. i just know who and where i got them from.

    September 30, 2012 at 9:44 am

  8. matite da collezione

    I’m an Italian collector of pencils. I would like to share with you pencils

    October 4, 2012 at 7:52 am

  9. Always great to discover that others appreciate the humble pencil. Thanks!

    June 11, 2013 at 8:27 am

  10. Laura from Indiana

    Excited to have found this site. Even more excited to look at my old pencils…with slightly more educated eyes.

    July 2, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    • Indeed, there is often much to discover by re-examining what you already have.

      July 5, 2013 at 10:50 pm

  11. Pamela J. Francis

    Hi, Fred–I collect pencils, but I would like some sort of way to display them. Do you have any suggestions? Right now they’re in drawers, but I’d really like some sort of notebooks with slots or something similar. ANY help would be appreciated! Thanks in advance–Pamela J. Francis

    August 11, 2013 at 11:14 am

    • An age-old question. Many serious collectors string them up on wooden boards, but that can take a lot of work, especially drilling holes. You can use cardboard instead of wood and staples instead of holes. Most people use elastic thread, but I like clear fishing line, which lasts longer and is almost invisible (but doesn’t hold as well unless you get it just right). I have also seen pencils sewn onto cloth or placed into pockets of cloth. Some people make structures with ledges that pencils stand on vertically, partly behind plexiglas. Try different things. Good luck!

      August 12, 2013 at 12:09 am

  12. Derek Carter

    Fred,

    I’m an artist interested in the artists of the Civil War. Do you have any information on the pencils they may have used in the field (Alfred Waud, Edwin Forbes, Winslow Homer et al) Would they have used square or round leads and possible makers ?

    Derek Carter

    August 26, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    • Dixon, Eagle, and American, as well as smaller U.S. pencil makers, were around in those days. But artists may well have used high-quality imported pencils such as A.W. Fabers from Germany. Leads of wood-cased pencils at that time were all square, I believe.

      August 31, 2013 at 7:02 pm

  13. Steve Hosselet

    Great site. Love your collection. Have you worked in the industry ?

    October 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm

  14. Fred do you have diary pencils? I am collecting them and writing a book about diaries and have started a diary rescue campaign. I am thinking of attempting a diary pencil typology! No one else seems to like them!

    November 14, 2013 at 9:38 am

    • I have many different skinny round pencils (which I will eventually show, along with other small pencils), but I don’t know which were made specifically for diaries. Some have knobs or eyelets for string or chain attachments.

      November 16, 2013 at 5:33 pm

  15. Am looking forward to meeting them! Best wishes!

    November 18, 2013 at 7:50 am

  16. dimasmoonbeams

    Hi Fred! I am interested in learning more about early American pencils such as Ebenzer Wood’s, Bell’s, and early Eberhard Fabers. Where should I begin and do you have any idea where I might find samples? Ebay was a bust. Thanks!

    November 29, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    • Pre-1860 American-made pencils? All I can say is, “Good luck with that.”

      November 29, 2013 at 10:46 pm

      • dimasmoonbeams

        Gotcha; thanks!

        November 30, 2013 at 10:17 am

      • dimasmoonbeams

        Actually, I am potentially interested in anything that would have reasonably been sold in the New England area up to the 1880s; does that improve my chances? 🙂

        Thanks for the help, by the way!

        November 30, 2013 at 12:09 pm

  17. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year… and lot of new(old) pencils!

    December 25, 2013 at 9:22 am

  18. Danny

    Hi Fred. I love your site. I’m avidly reading the articles and ogling the pictures. I wonder if you might be able to give me some hints about how you get such great images of pencils. I’m starting to write blog posts with pencils as the main characters, but my attempts to scan or photograph them have not met with much success. (My images look kind of dim and blurry.) And advice you might be able to share would be greatly appreciated!

    July 25, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    • It’s harder than most people realize. The easy way to make a big difference is to use any photo editing program or app to adjust brightness and contrast. But for the photography, it can simply take a lot of experimentation to get the lighting (two or more lamps) and camera settings just right, especially when there are several different pencils in the same shot. One reason I’ve not done much posting lately is the time (and space, to set things up) it takes to make great images. I have not found a scanner that works well enough generally for the purpose.

      July 25, 2014 at 10:43 pm

  19. Angela

    Hello,

    I stumbled upon your blog after incessantly Googling “woodless pencils” and “non-wood pencils” and “pencils that are not wood” and, well, the list of searches goes on. I was wondering if you have ever come across and could point me towards the direction of some awesome pencils that remind me of my childhood. I lived in the Philippines as a kid, and after school one day my dad gave me a bundle of really special pencils — instead of the regular wood, they were made of some sort of wax-like bright-white material and really smooth lead. The pencils were really awesome because they sharpened really smoothly and wrote just as well. Neither my dad nor I remember the name or brand or where these pencils came from, and I really hope you can!

    Angela

    July 29, 2014 at 9:19 pm

  20. DebS

    I found this pencil recently and can’t find information about it. it’s an AW Faber 2792 bit is marked USA Carbon Lead Black Flyer Weatherproof. on the reverse side of the pencil it says “Lead imported from American Zone, Germany.”. Know anything about this?
    Thanks.
    –Deb S. from Massachusetts

    September 7, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    • I don’t have that one. But A.W. Faber Castell pencils with “Lead imported…” are fairly common. The American Zone refers to Allied occupation for a few years after WWII.

      September 7, 2014 at 10:16 pm

  21. Hi Fred. Came across your web site by doing some research. You do have a great collection. As for myself, every once in a while I come across something interesting. I have in my possession (had it for years and always thought it was rare), an antique lead pencil, never used, with eraser and metal cylindrical calculator, it does multiplication. It has six parts to construct it, and is marked “Chicago Recording Scale Co., Waukegan, ILL. Is there anything you could tell me about this. Hope to hear from you soon. Bob

    March 9, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    • I don’t know anything about your calculating pencil, but I bet it would be of interest to collectors of slide rules and related things. I have various “Magic Multiplier” wood-bodied mechanical pencils, but those are pretty common and don’t have metallic mechanisms. I have another that sounds similar to yours, but its top is a perpetual calendar.

      March 9, 2015 at 9:12 pm

  22. Fred Chestnut

    Hi Fred – I came across your blog at “/r/Cool Collections” and I sent a link to “The Fred Society”.

    August 30, 2015 at 3:58 am

  23. Gulcin Elyorgun

    Hello Fred,
    Your pencils are very fantastic.I am a turkish pencil collectioner. (Since 2012):) I have small pencil collection for now. (Just 1.400 pencils)
    Unfortunately, being a collectioner is very hard in Turkey.I dont like buying from internet either..
    Do you have a facebook address of your pencil blog. (I cant find)
    Also, I will be happy If you can suggest anything about collecting pencils…

    Take care……

    October 28, 2015 at 11:35 am

  24. Fred; Somewhat able to navigate this site. Thank you for posting all this.

    February 23, 2016 at 7:34 am

  25. Fred; Searching for chronology of Eagle “CHEM*SEAL” VARITHIN color pencils. All info seems to point to ‘MADE IN USA’ on label as earlier issues. There are different brass end caps. Some are slightly convex and smooth. Wartime is obvious as painted and then there is the brass cap with embossed concentric circles with just the slightest hint of convex curve. The only other is very slightly longer cap with smooth convex finish.
    What came first? Thank you, phil

    February 25, 2016 at 5:13 am

    • I don’t know. But a pretty good rule of thumb in estimating pencil chronology is: Fancier = Older. The eagle logo is a classic example.

      February 27, 2016 at 9:37 pm

  26. Fred; Recently acquired some pencil eraser brass caps with no manuf.’s markings. They fit over a pencil end and are brass with a large erasure at the end. Would anyone know what these are actually called, when they were sold and what company made them? The add an interest touch to otherwise plain pencils.
    Thanks-phil

    May 12, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    • If what you describe is what I am thinking of, I call them “oversized detachable erasers.” Or maybe “attached” is better, since they usually come attached to the pencil and seem meant to stay on. I have them on pencils from different manufacturers, including American.
      Making it more blog-relevant: If I ever get around to creating more posts, Oversized Erasers will be one of them.

      May 13, 2016 at 6:20 pm

  27. Fred; Thank you.
    -phil

    May 14, 2016 at 4:06 pm

  28. Betty J. Dilley

    I need to provide a prop pencil for a play, Grapes of Wrath, which took place in the 1930s, during a Depression. What kind of pencil would have been available, do you think? I’ve been researching this, but am not sure I have found the correct answer.

    June 2, 2016 at 5:45 am

    • Fred; If you are agreeable I have some decorated ‘penny pencils’ and will gladly mail one free to Betty. Please forward her my email addy . A;sp have a question for you regarding who or what entity is the true organization for membership in the ‘Pencil Collectors Society’ or is it the ‘The Pencil Collectors Association’? What the real deal?
      Thanks-phil

      June 3, 2016 at 8:03 am

  29. Fred; Any problems with waxing my nicer pencils w/ a quality wax. A friend waxes his collection of lures and military medals and has had
    no negative experience.
    Thanks-phil

    June 24, 2016 at 7:08 am

  30. Update: I bought museum quality wax on eBay. Apply w/ a Q-tip. Dries quickly and polish with a cotton ball. Dark pencil come out superb, better w/ additional coats. Yellows develop depth.
    So many questions. . .

    June 28, 2016 at 4:32 pm

  31. Fred; When & why did the pencil mfgrs. start changing the label branding from the left to the right side. Is there an actual date or event?
    Thanks-phil

    July 4, 2016 at 5:21 am

  32. Don Biebel

    Send me your mailing address and I’ll send you a few dozen golf pencils I have laying around in a shoe box

    February 24, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    • Thank you for the kind offer, but I must decline. In general, I don’t want this site to be used for business other than the posts and discussion of them.

      February 25, 2017 at 9:26 pm

  33. Chris

    Hello Fred: I have been coming back to this site in a madman’s fever dream of finding the brand of pencil I used to used and can no longer find. I know this is a far shot considering the sheer amount of pencils you have but I figure you may be able to help. In the 90’s there was a very particular style of pencil that i used to use for school and drawing and the only way I can describe was pure heaven. The lead was particularly soft, almost malleable, and the wood was almost plastic/ rubber wood type breaking clean if broken ( I remember chewing the wood and the wood making indents but the paint chipping from the soft wood) . This particular pencil was beyond perfect for drawing. If you can ever think of a brand, style, or even what the wood material may have been made of that would be amazing as this has turned into somewhat of an odyssey for me now.

    September 5, 2017 at 11:20 am

    • Chris

      I wanted to add a few more things I remember as I realize I am asking alot. The pencil when shaven the wood would be a milky cream and smooth color never leaving a seam. The eraser as I remember was almost pure rubber from by guess as it NEVER erased the pencil marks only ripping paper :p After scouring your collection the closest that I **think is closest to what i may remember is the conqueror 777 no2 pencil you had posted in another post but couldn’t be sure as it wasn’t sharpened.

      September 5, 2017 at 11:25 am

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