The American Pencil Company came up with the unique green crackle finish for its drawing pencils, the story goes, by accident. But it’s not so unique, and that is no accident, as these pencils demonstrate —
As usual, old Japanese manufacturers were the most industrious imitators, but we also have a couple of newer ones from Taiwan and India.
Although it may make us cringe today, it was once fashionable to give pencils featuring a deep, black mark African-themed names.
And lest you think, “Oh, it can’t be as bad as it looks. They’re just referring to Africa the continent, Swahili the language, negro the Spanish word for black, and Blackamoor the… the…” —No, it’s black people. I don’t have them to show, but I’ve seen old boxes for the Negro and Zulu brands that prominently depict African tribesmen.