My Collection – Photos and Commentary



A sleeve with movable needle arm makes these pencils into a drawing compass —



United States Pencil Co.

United States Pencil Co., an American pencil company —

US Pencil Co Brands

USCO 486 varieties:

USCO 486

USCO Electro 486, a “transitional species” between USCO Grafine Lead 486 and USCO Electro 100:

USCO Transition

USCO Electro 100:USCO 100

Three different expressions for 2-1/2:

USCO 2.5

The only other place I’ve seen 2-5/10 is on Ticonderogas.

Nearly identical Evergreen copying pencils made in Czechoslovakia and in USA:

Czechoslovakia and US

An older ad showing that the Czech versions were actually made by L & C Hardtmuth:

Evegreen Copying Ad

I have seen an ad indicating that Our Drummer is also from U.S. Pencil Co. —


Swan USA

Some of the major German pencil companies had subsidiaries in the United States.  The Swan Pencil Co., based in New York, was a subsidiary of Schwan.  Swan produced several brands —

Swan Brands

Othello and Fortuna are major Schwan brands.

Tiger 440 may be original to Swan —


As evidenced by the wartime plastic and cardboard ferrules, Swan continued to produce and sell pencils during WWII.


Often I’ll present pencils having unusual shapes and sizes.  One of my favorites is the “tapered” shape.  Tapered pencils all seem to be quite old —

Ambassador Ad

Tapered Right

Tapered Left

Eagle Rubberhead

I find them uncomfortable to hold.  It feels like the pencil is getting squeezed backward.

This Egypt-themed one has a square cross-section, which makes the eraser end a pyramid —



This one is very special —

Tapered Mongol Pencil

It is a Mongol 482, but very different from the standard model.  It has a hexagonal cross-section that transitions to round and tapers down.

Advertising pencils could also be tapered —

Tapered Ad Pencils

I also have a tapered mechanical pencil —

Tapered Mechanical front

Tapered Mechanical back

A sliding tab pushes the lead forward.

Manufacturing Tests

Eco-friendly pencils with unpainted wood are popular (or at least produced) these days, but that’s not what these are —

VD Testing

They appear to be samples used to test pencil manufacturing processes.  V.D. here stands for Venus Drawing, I believe.

The similar one below is apparently a test for an Autograph by Venus —

Autograph Panel

The Autograph brand was around for a long time, in many varieties.  This one has a matte white panel where you can write your name — your autograph.  Japanese “kakikata” pencils for children often have this feature.

Another pair, maybe also for testing —

Badger Blank

Discerning collectors have noticed that some Eagle and Eberhard Faber pencils have a small dot added to the standard design.  The dot may represent some aspect of the pencil’s production.  An example of this variation for Eagle Turquoise Drawing —

Turquiose Dot

On the reverse is what at first glance appears to be the common “dotted X” decorative feature.  But it is missing one of the dots.  In fact, a variety of strange symbols can be found on these pencils —

Strange Symbols

I’m pretty sure that they are used for quality control purposes.  It looks like the various shapes with different numbers of dots are some kind of code, perhaps for different dates, equipment, and sources of material.

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


These are dressmaker’s pencils, for marking patterns on fabric.  The brush is for wiping the mark off afterward, as ordinary erasers would be inefficient.

The top three are somewhat vintage.  I’ve got some newer Dritzs, but they are mint in package, and I wouldn’t want to limit their investment value by removing them.  That’s tongue in cheek (an idiom, my foreign readers), of course.  Yet I’ve always been reluctant to remove pencils from their blister packaging, even though I’d prefer to put them with my other pencils and save space.  And eventually, the glue on those packages disintegrates and the pencils fall out anyway.