My Collection – Photos and Commentary

Pair Share

Round Mirado

A round Eagle Mirado, paired with the hexagonal version:

Round and Hex Mirado 174

While it’s fairly common for a particular brand of pencil to be made in different forms, usually the models are given different product numbers (Mongol 480 and 482, for example).  Here, both are 174.


From time to time I’ll be exhibiting pencils with errors or odd features, grouped into categories, of course.  This post will feature problems with pencil tips. 

But does “tip” refer to the end of the pencil that may have an eraser (its usual meaning), or to the sharpened end (which seems better described)?  The ambiguity of this term has always bugged me.  I will mean the former, usually.

Missing ferrule:

Missing Ferrule

Wrong end:

Wrong End Pairs

Wrong End Ferrule

Wrong color:

Stabilo-micro Swan

It’s Registered

Here’s an interesting pair of old pencils.  Although they are from different companies, their designs are too similar to be coincidental —

The Handy Pencil was made by American Pencil Co., while the Cock Pencil is from Staedtler.  They both start with BBB in the same style.
Following that, they both have appropriate logos — the Handy Pencil has a nice pair of hands, while the Cock Pencil sports a handsome
rooster.  If one is imitating the other, I’d say it is American’s Handy, which has “Register” (an error?) in place of the “Registered” printed on Staedtler’s Cock

American Splendor

Two Splendors, nearly the same, but the upper one doesn’t have a No 2.  It also lacks crimp marks on the WWII-era plastic ferrule.

Product Number Variation

Occasionally the product number associated with a particular brand of pencil will change with time, such as when Dixon’s Ticonderoga 1386 became 1388. Usually this change is accompanied by an update in design.  But here are a couple of pairs for which only the number is different:  

I suspect that for these, the product number printed on the pencil depended on the manner in which it was sold, for example individually or in a packaged set.

Four Hundred

What a Stud

Sometimes wooden golf-scoring pencils were fabricated from partly finished regular pencils.  In this case, to humorous effect.

Lefty and Righty

Most modern pencils are “right-handed,” the text being upright when held for use by a right-handed person.  Many very old pencils have a “left-handed” design.  Here are some with both handednesses:

The upper Laddie is probably an error, with the wrong end factory-sharpened.  But it would be a lucky find for a left-handed student.

Blog note: I just got a new job in a new location, so postings will be less frequent for a while.  But keep visiting.  I’ve got lots of great things to show you!

Rhinoceros Preservation

Here’s a neat imitation pair –

I think the top Rhinoceros pencil itself is very interesting.  It’s an antique long-ferrule lefty with a nice logo and soft lead with the archaic BBBB designation.  Also, it is made in England by ALPCO, which stands for American Lead Pencil Company (more on that later). 

Then there’s a modern imitation from Taiwan.  Again a lefty – rare in modern pencils – and even keeping the BBBB!  I suspect the lead isn’t even that soft.  Very few people nowadays (besides me, and now you) would even be aware of what the new pencil is imitating (even if there were intermediate varieties), so it’s not really a case of stealing prestige from a famous brand (as with the Lumograph).  But the Rhinoceros style was and is pretty cool.

Linton-Venus Connection

The Linton pencil company went out of business in the early sixties or so, and I’m not aware of the continuation of any of its brands.  Except this:

Art-Guild was one of Linton’s main brands.  I was surprised to see it made by Venus.

OK, Fine.

This is a tale of two pencils. To the best of my knowledge, it is entirely ficticious.

Once upon a time, the mighty Eberhard Faber company created a new pencil. It was blue of hue and high of quality. They were proud of their creation, and they named it Fine Blue. They sent it out into the marketplace with high hopes. And for a while, it thrived. But then, something happened. Customers began to complain that they were disappointed with the pencil’s quality, and sales dropped. Maybe it was because of poorer raw materials, or because the production machinery had deteriorated, or because of employee burn-out. Or maybe the pencil was never really that great in the first place. We may never know. But Faber had invested too much in Fine Blue to abandon it. So, after much consideration, they renamed it Okay Blue. Okay, as in not great, but not bad either. Just… OK. The customers were pleased with this new truth-in-advertising honesty, and sales picked up again. Thus, Okay Blue was fine. The End.


Most of us are familiar with the Colorbrite brand of colored pencils by Eberhard Faber.  But did you know they also had a graphite pencil named Colorbrite?

I would guess the graphite one came first, the name owing to the external colors (there are several).  Later they decided it would be a great name for a colored-lead line of pencils.