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NAICS: 33-9941 Mechanical Pencil Manufacturing, 33-9942 Pencil Lead Manufacturing

SIC: 3951 Pens and Mechanical Pencils, 3952 Lead Pencils and Art Goods

NAICS-Based Product Codes: 33-99415101, 33-99415116, 33-994211, 33-99421101, and 33-99421106


According to a report of the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association, 5 billion pencils were produced in the United States in 2006. Of these, 3.7 billion were basic wood-encased pencils consisting of wood, graphite lead, lacquer, embossed labeling, a bit of metal, and an eraser. The word pencil comes from the Latin pencillus, or little brush. The earliest pencil involved hollow bamboo or reeds with tiny brushes of hair at one end used by the Romans to write on papyrus, the earliest form of paper.

A pencil is an instrument used for marking, writing, or drawing. A pencil consists of a thin rod of a substance, usually graphite, that leaves a mark on some surface, usually paper. The marking rod is most often encased in wood, although plastic or metal is used for the casing as well. One end of the pencil is sharpened to a point; this point is used to apply the graphite to the marking, writing, or drawing surface. The other end of the pencil typically has an eraser. The average pencil can draw a line 35 miles long or write 45,000 words.

Before the discovery of graphite in 1500s, marking, writing, or drawing was done with ink. While the wood-encased marking rod of a pencil is broadly referred to as pencil lead, pencils never contained actual lead. Pencil lead is the lay term for graphite, a mineral related to carbon. Graphite was discovered in 1564 at a mine in Cumbria, England. Graphite was originally named plumbago, Latin for ore. The Cumbria graphite deposit was used primarily to make cannonballs, but the substance was also suitable for writing and marking.

The high quality Cumbria graphite could be cut into sticks suitable for writing, marking, and drawing, however, the substance was too soft to hold. The English Guild of Pencil Makers built small hand-carved wooden cases to hold graphite sticks. Italians Simonio and Lyndiana Bercotti are credited with actually inserting graphite sticks into wooden holders, inventing the flat carpenter pencil from hollowed out wood.

Cabinetmakers and other tradesmen became involved in pencil making. The wood casing was sometimes square, round, hexagonal, or octagonal. In 1794 Frenchman Nicolas-Jacques Conté invented a pencil that did not require high quality graphite imported from Cambria. Conté, a scientist, painter, and balloonist, mixed lower quality powdered graphite with finely ground clay to strengthen it, rolled it into a cylinder, and baked it at 1,200 degrees Celsius. The process came to be known as the Conté process and could render graphite of varying hardness. The Conté process is used in modern pencil manufacturing.

Not only did Conté create a way to make usable thin rods of graphite, called leads, but his manufacturing process also offered control over the end product so that thin rods of graphite could be graded from hard to soft. The proportion of clay is the most important factor in lead hardness or softness, although temperature is a secondary contributor. When more clay is used, harder lead results. Conté described the hardness of his products on a numerical scale of one through four. Higher numbers denote harder graphite. The harder the pencil, the less graphite that comes off onto the paper, making a lighter line. The No. 1 pencil is made with soft graphite that is easy to smudge and therefore preferred by artists. The No. 2 pencil uses medium graphite, making it ideal for general writing. The No. 3 and No. 4 are harder pencils used for drafting which requires a sharp, strong point; engineers and draftsmen prefer the No. 4. During the same time period English pencil makers started using letters to identify hardness; harder leads were designated with the letter H and softer leads with the letter B (for black, as opposed to the more intuitive S, for soft). Thus, BBB is softer than BB, and HHH is harder than HH.

In 1861 the German Eberhard Faber built the first U.S. pencil factory in New York, New York. Various pencil related patents were granted during the Civil War period, including patents for pencil cutting machines, pencil sanding machines, and a Dixon wood planing machine that produced 132 pencils per minute. Within one decade, American consumers purchased an estimated 20 million pencils per year; the industry was worth $1 million.

Early U.S. pencils were unpainted. Austrian pencil makers introduced the yellow Koh-I-Noor pencil at the Chicago World Fair in 1893. The color yellow was associated with respect and formality in Asia. Perhaps to associate their product with the premium Koh-I-Noor pencil, American pencil makers lacquered pencils yellow and yellow became the standard.

The mechanical pencil contains a rod of graphite encased in plastic or metal. A mechanism inside the pencil forces graphite to the tip of the instrument for writing or drawing, and allows it to retract when not in use. The graphite need never be sharpened. Charles R. Keeran introduced the mechanism for the mechanical pencil in 1913. His mechanical pencil called the Eversharp had a propelling mechanism to ensure a smooth flow of lead, a comfortable-to-hold casing, and adequate lead storage. Keeran refined the design and by 1915 introduced a rifled tip that allowed for a consistent resistance to the passage of propelled lead.

By the 1960s, before the advent of the modern computer era, the pencil was a must-have product for office workers. One pencil manufacturer of the era jokingly referred to red tape (slang for corporate forms and overall paper work) as the "pencil's best friend."

The pencil is a classic nondurable consumer good. Nondurable goods are purchased for immediate or almost immediate consumption and have a life span ranging from minutes to three years. Nondurable goods are destroyed by use so consumers need to repeatedly replenish their supply throughout the year. The pencil is also seen as an undifferentiated product, where one brand performs as well as any other. The result is a large variety of pencils types and styles at affordable prices in the marketplace.


The Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association tracks the pencil shipments of U.S. manufacturers. The industry tracks both number of units shipped and total industry shipment value for pencils in three categories: wood-encased, mechanical, and colored. In 2007 the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association reported on total U.S. pencil production. U.S. manufacturers shipped approximately 5 billion pencils with a total shipment value of $1.2 billion in 2006.

Figure 167 shows the unit share of each pencil category. Of the 5 billion pencils produced in 2006, 75 percent were wood-encased, 11 percent were mechanical, and 14 percent were colored.

The value of the pencils sold presents a very different picture. The smallest group in terms of units sold brought in the vast majority of the dollar value of sales. Figure 167 also presents a breakdown of the pencil market in terms of dollar sales. Of the $1.2 billion worth of pencils shipped in 2006, 55 percent were mechanical, 33 percent were wood-encased, and 12 percent were colored.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported on pen and pencil shipments in one of its 2002 Economic Census series of industry reports titled "Pen and Mechanical Pencil Manufacturing: 2002." Pen and pencil makers shipped $1.3 billion worth of product in 2002, down 18 percent from $1.6 billion in 1997. The major categories of pens and pencils are, ballpoint and roller pens (45% of the total $1.3 billion), markers (37% of the total $1.3 billion), and other pens and mechanical pencils (15% of the total $1.3 billion). The other pens and mechanical pencils class reported product shipments of $189 million in 2002, down 25 percent from $254 million in 1997.

The Census Bureau's report titled "Lead Pencil and Art Good Manufacturing: 2002," provides further details on pencils. Manufacturers in this industry shipped $1.2 billion worth of product in 2002, up 8 percent from $1.1 billion in 1997. The major categories of that growing industry are wood-encased pencils including graphite and colored sticks, chalk, and crayons (42% of the total $1.2 billion); artists' equipment and materials (35% of the total $1.2 billion), and non-electric machines such as paper cutters, pencil sharpeners, staplers, and staple removers (15% of the total $1.2 billion).


In the United States in 2002, 88 establishments manufactured pens and mechanical pencils, while 143 establishments manufactured lead pencils and art goods. Most pen and mechanical pencil makers were located in California and New Jersey, while most lead pencil and art goods makers were located in California and Illinois. Four large pencil makers are: Bic Corporation, Dixon Ticonderoga Company, Faber-Castell USA, and Sanford Corp.

Bic Corporation

With its North American headquarters and 350 employees in Shelton, Connecticut, Bic began in 1945 when Marcel Bich, a former production manager at a French ink manufacturer, purchased a factory outside Paris and began making fountain pen parts and mechanical lead pencils. The company is best known for its Bic pen but manufactures and distributes inexpensive razors and lighters. In recognition of its diverse stable of products, the company changed its name from the Bic Pen Corporation to the Bic Corporation in 1982. Bic grew into the stationery and writing products markets primarily through acquisitions. During the 1990s it acquired Wite Out and Tipp-Ex, the leading brands of correctional products in the United States and Europe, respectively. Throughout the 1990s it introduced products such as M.V.P. Erasable ball pens, Great Erase and Softsider mechanical pencils, and Softfeel Bold permanent markers. Its stationery products represent nearly half of the company's revenues. The company reported sales of €1.4 billion and 8,512 employees.

Bic was the top selling pencil brand at supermarkets, drug stores, and discount stores (excluding Wal-Mart) for the 52 weeks ended August 7, 2005, according to Market Share Reporter 2007, with sales of $12 million and a 13 percent market share. Bic Matic Grip was the second most popular brand, with sales of $6 million and a 6 percent market share.

Dixon Ticonderoga Company

Headquartered in Heathrow, Florida, Dixon Ticonderoga Company began with Joseph Dixon in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1827 making products that used graphite such as stove polish, lubricants, foundry facings, brake linings, oil less bearings, and eventually pencils. Dixon is considered the founder of the American graphic industry. By 1872 the Dixon company was making 86,000 pencils every day. In 1913 it rolled out the classic Ticonderoga No. 2 pencil, named after Fort Ticonderoga, a military post in New York. Norman Rockwell's famous "His First Pencil" from 1919 was used in a back-to-school advertisement with ad copy stating, "My dad told me to get a 'Ticon-der-oga' pencil." In 1982 Joseph Dixon Crucible Company merged with Bryn Mawr Corporation to form Dixon Ticonderoga Company.

Dixon is dedicated to making and marketing writing and drawing pencils, pens, artist materials, felt tip markers, industrial markers, lumber crayons, correction materials, and allied products. Dixon has North American locations in Heathrow, Florida, Macon, Georgia, and New Market Ontario, Canada, plus three Latin American and five European locations. The company estimated in 2003 that its Ticonderoga brand is approximately half of premium pencil sales; the brand outsells its closest rival in the premium market by a ratio of two to one. In 2004 Dixon merged with Fila-Fabbrica Italiana Lapis ed Affini SpA, a producer of writing instruments and art materials based in Milan, Italy. The company employs approximately 1,300 people worldwide.

Faber-Castell USA, Inc.

Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Faber-Castell USA, Inc. started in 1761 when cabinetmaker Kaspar Faber formed a pencil manufacturing company in Stein, Germany. Faber-Castell has 15 factories including its original plant near Nuremberg, makes 2 billion pencils per year, and employs 5,000 people. If these pencils were laid end-to-end they would encircle the world more than six times.

In 1838 the fourth generation Lothar Faber took over, revitalizing the business with branded pencils and a fashionable hexagonal shape. Having set trends in Europe, Faber opened its first U.S. subsidiary in 1843 in New York, New York, under management of Lothar's brother Eberhard. Eberhard built the first U.S. pencil factory where he produced Eberhard Faber branded pencils and eventually separated from his brother. After Lothar died in 1896, his granddaughter married Count Alexander Castell-Rudenhausen, giving the company a new name: A.W. Faber-Castell. In 1918 Faber-Castell ended up in the hands of several shareholders as a result of World War I. Eberhard continued to operate his separate business. In 1957 a prominent New Jersey banker along with Count Roland von Faber-Castell acquired a controlling interest in Faber-Castell, which in 1987 acquired the business of Eberhard Faber. Faber-Castell grew into one of the largest writing instrument companies in North America. For two years in the 1990s, Newell Corporation briefly owned Faber-Castell. By 1996 Faber-Castell was re-established as a wholly-owned New Jersey company. In 2000 the company moved to Ohio and concentrates on high-end markets.

Faber-Castell offers colored pencils, pastel pencils, graphite pencils, and monochrome pencils. A box set of 120 artist color pencils in an heirloom wooden case is $600; twenty-four in a metal tin retail for $50; a plain cardboard box of twelve for $25. Faber-Castell colored and graphite pencils may be worth the extra money. Each pencil is encased in California cedar wood that is bonded to prevent breakage and contains superior pigments of unsurpassed lightfastness—resistance to fading. The 120 colored pencils are known for buttery smooth color laydown, easy blending and layering, and thick 3.8mm leads. Pastel pencils are extra-thick with 4.3mm leads that can be wiped like ordinary pastels, so gentle fixing is recommended. Its basic Design Pencil Black is a fashionable looking, top-quality graphite pencil with its encasing wood dyed completely black. Produced with a soft lead for ease and comfort when using the pencil, a box of twelve is marketed for approximately $21.

Sanford Corp

Headquartered in Bellwood, Illinois, Sanford Corp., a subsidiary of Newell Rubbermaid since 1992, was founded in 1857. In the 1990s and first decade of the twenty-first century, the company acquired some of the most familiar names in the writing instrument industry: Paper Mate, Parker, Waterman, and Sharpie. The company reported having 3,000 employees and over $1 billion in sales in 2006. Besides its Illinois headquarters, Sanford has locations in Lewisburg and Shelbyville, Tennessee; Janesville, Wisconsin; Santa Monica, California; Ontario, Canada; Hamburg, Germany; Mexico City, Mexico; Bogota, Colombia; Caracas, Venezuela, and King's Lynn, United Kingdom. Sanford Corp. made noticeable changes to its packaging operations in 2006 primarily by streamlining the manufacturing of blister packaging for its products, resulting in reduced heat-seal tooling inventory and reduced warehouse space.

Sanford also makes pencils in categories such as graphite, water-soluble graphite, woodless graphite, charcoal, drawing pencils, mechanical pencils, specialty pencils, and art pencils. The art pencils segment is wholly encompassed by Prismacolor, which makes Col-erase branded pencils that are erasable. Sanford also sells basic wood encased pencils and premium pencils under its Paper Mate brand name.

Other Companies

A forerunner to Rose Art Industries was founded in 1923. Rose Art Industries offers over 750 products, including pencils, crayons, and markers. Rose Art has 153 employees and is based in Livingston, New Jersey. Employee-owned Blackfeet Writing Instruments Inc., in Browning, Montana, started as a tribally-owned enterprise in 1972 and transferred to private hands in 1992, albeit entirely controlled by tribal members. The company produces fifteen varieties of custom-imprinted pens, pencils, and markers in up to twenty-five colors. Its products are sold in all fifty states and a number of foreign countries.


Basic wood-encased pencils consist of wood, graphite lead, lacquer, embossed labeling, a bit of metal, and an eraser

Blackfeet Writing Instruments informed Indian Country Today in 2000 that it gets wood materials it needs (little slats of cedar, sugar pine, redwood, and other wood) from California and Oregon, and graphite manufactured in factories from New York or Florida. Other makers get pencil slats from California Cedar Products Company, the leading supplier of pencil slats. Manufacturers prefer incense cedar for its thermal conductivity rating. It resists shrinking and warping and also regenerates quickly. Because of cedar's heat resistance, it is well-suited for the variety of machining operations involved in pencil manufacturing.

In pencil making wood casings are prepared separately. Blocks of cedar wood are then cuts into slats. Each slat is given eight grooves by a complex machine. Another machine lays either black graphic or pigment colored lead into the slats, applies glue, and places another slat with eight grooves precisely on top to make a sort of lead sandwich. The slats are heated and hard-pressed to turn the two slats into one. Heat processing strengthens wooden pencil casings and helps prevent breakage. The sandwiched wood is then sent along a conveyor belt where the sheet is cut into individual pencils. Pencils are sanded and varnished individually. The eraser is attached, if any, and the maker's name and logo is embossed onto the surface with a film formed by applying heat to carbon black mixed with resins. Pencils are then packaged for shipment through the distribution channel.


Pencils are distributed nationally through wholesale, commercial and retail stationery shops, school supply houses, industrial supply houses, blueprint and reproduction supply firms, art material distributors, and retailers. Dixon, for instance, directly distributes pencils from a leased facility in Macon, Georgia. To better control its distribution channel, Dixon ended its distribution arrangement with a third party in Statesville, North Carolina, in 2004.

According to the School, Home Office, and Supply Association, total office product sales in 2006 were $332 billion. The Association reports that 22 percent of these sales occur through specialty retailers, 21 percent through stationery firms and specialists, and 18 percent through discount club stores. Office supply stores such as Office Depot, Staples, and OfficeMax represent 10 percent of sales. Remaining industry sales occur through supermarkets, drug stores, catalogs, independent dealers, and the Internet. Approximately 64 percent of office products are sold at retail; the remaining are shipped through delivery agreements.


Key pencil users include schoolchildren, office workers, draftsmen, and engineers. Key users may operate out of a home office which are increasingly common. A 2005 American Institute of Architects study concluded the home office is the preferred special function room in new home designs. Market tracking firm Business Communications Co. estimated the number of home office users at 59 million in 2007—many of whom use at least part of the 5 billion units of pencils produced in 2006.

Teachers and students also use pencils. For schoolchildren, using a pencil is a rite of passage. Most teachers and principals consider the pencil a basic survival tool since the primary grades are when children learn cursive writing, often with a classic yellow lacquer No. 2 pencil.

Key users also include artists, novelists, and carpenters who require a pencil for daily work. Casual users employ pencils when they play bridge, Scrabble, and golf. Many believe that a pencil is necessary for working the New York Times crossword puzzle.


The Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association tracks manufacturer shipments of pens, pencils, markers, highlighters, and writing correction products. These segments of the writing industry are all closely adjacent markets. The overall writing instrument industry was worth $6 billion in 2006.

Figure 168 depicts the shares of each of the adjacent markets related to writing instruments. Pens represented 52 percent in 2006, correctional products 20 percent, pencils 20 percent, and markers 8 percent.

Other products the markets for which are adjacent to the market for pencils include paper, printers, copiers, toner, ink, and a large group of products whose function is the presentation of data on a digital output device.


Research and development conducted by the European Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association involves chemists and technicians from ten member countries. This research in the latter years of the first decade of the twenty-first century was focused on: (1) injection molding processes, (2) proposed U.S. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards related to artists' products, and (3) revision of International Standard Organization writing instruments standards.

Since 77 percent of the 5 billion pencil units shipped in 2006 were wood-encased, research and development focuses on new designs for them. Examples of new designs are pencils with black lead on one end and colored lead on the other. New designs include new colors to keep up with trends. Colored pencil maker Prismacolor, owned by San-ford, introduced new colors in 2006. Prismacolor makes and sells premier colored pencils in 12 standard colors and 12 updated colors like beige sienna, chestnut, chocolate, ginger root, powdered blue, and muted turquoise.

Because wood-encased pencils are seen as undifferentiated products where one works as well as any other, R&D focuses differentiation. Faber-Castell R&D resulted in wood-encased pencils with superior and provable lightfastness. In 2005 it advertised for three consecutive months in The Artist's Magazine, informing artists about its new lightfast pencils. In museum conditions, its pencils are lightfast for 100 plus years based on a blue wool scale test standard compatible with ASTM. Dixon R&D involved a soybean crayon that writes like lipstick. Faber-Castell R&D also led it to partner with leading cosmetic companies to make private label makeup pencils.

Faber-Castell differentiated the wood-encased pencil with its Grip 2001 and won five international design awards for doing so. In December 2000, the Grip 2001 pencil garnered more fame when it was selected as one of the best products of the year by Business Week magazine. The Grip 2001 is an ergonomic instrument, triangular instead of hexagonal, with futuristic rows of easy-to-clutch raised dots along its sleek silver shaft. The Grip 2001 is differentiated because the raised dots improve gripping. The dots are affixed in such a way so that they will not gum up sharpeners. R&D in the pencil industry, as in many others, is often top secret. During a 2003 International Herald Tribune tour of the cedarwood-scented Faber-Castell factory in Germany where the Grip 2001 pencils are made, cameras were forbidden.

Because mechanical pencils represent only 11 percent of the 5 billion pencil units shipped, but 55 percent of dollars earned, R&D efforts are also focused on this segment of the market. Sanford Paper Mate brand mechanical pencils are called Apex, Clearpoint (clear encasing, side lead advance, molded grip), Clickster, Clickster Grip, G-Force, PhD (ergonomic triangular grip), Sharpwriter, Sharpwriter Neon, Syncro, Titanium (jumbo twist up eraser and shock absorbing tip to reduce lead breakage), Vibz, Visibility, Write Brothers, Write Brothers Grip, and X-Tend. Sanford Parker brand mechanical pencils are upscale and only two are available: Duofold (23 carat gold plated trim 7 mm only) and Sonnet. Waterman is a company that makes high-end pens and mechanical pencils with designer names such as Carene, Charleston, and Expert II.

New models of mechanical pencils have to compete with old favorites. R&D at Pentel gave its mechanical pencils cult status at Pentel of America has made mechanical pencils for 50 years in Torrance, California. Its world headquarters is in Tokyo, Japan. The Pentel GraphGear 1000 is a hefty shiny chromed metal automatic pencil with a comfortable grip that is a unique construction of knurled metal set with 20 translucent rubber ovals. Under the chromed cap is an integral refillable eraser. GraphGear 1000 is available in 4 lead sizes: 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, and 0.9 mm. The Pentel P200 Series is a classic professional drafting pencil much favored by engineers. It has a plastic barrel with a metal clip and an eraser under the cap. The plastic barrel comes in colors such as black, grey, reddish brown, turquoise, and a classic yellow that mimics the color of a No. 2.


One recurring trend in the pencil industry is the perennial forecast that technology is set to eliminate it. Early predictions in the twentieth century were that the typewriter would make the pencil obsolete. That never happened. Later predictions were that the low-cost personal computer would make the pencil obsolete, which never happened. The Economist in March 2007 reiterated that pencils have a place in the Internet era and that the computer has not eclipsed them. No substitute exists for the affordable and practical wood-encased colored and graphite pencil for children, artists, office workers, designers, and the billions of people without computers. For over four centuries, the classic wood-encased pencil has defied obsolescence, according to educators, pencil manufacturers, and pencil aficionados.

Pencil aficionados include the Lead Pencil Club, a loose-knit group based in New York established in 1994 as a symbol of anti-technology. The unpretentious yellow No. 2 pencil is the rallying point for members who tend to be gadget-weary writers, thinkers, architects, and musicians. "Leadites unite!" exhorts the manifesto of the Lead Pencil Club.

Two current industry trends involve certifications for wood-encased pencils. California Cedar Products Company introduced its ForestChoice brand of incense-cedar wood pencils in 1999. Made with wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to have originated from environmentally well-managed forests, the company offers three lines: graphite No. 2 pencils, colored pencils, and carpenter pencils. All packaging is made from recycled paper.

The Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association sponsors the Pencil Makers Association certification program to ensure pencil materials are non-toxic. Pencil manufacturers who are a part of the program can use the certification seal. Only pencils manufactured from materials free from toxins that do not cause harmful effects if chewed can use the seal of approval. The voluntary program requires that all parts of the pencil be individually reviewed for toxicity, including the cores, slats, ferrules, erasers, and lacquers. Once assembled, pencils are randomly tested to ensure compliance.


The $1.2 billion per year pencil industry is competitive. Makers target school children, artists, Luddites, and luxury lovers. Dixon Ticonderoga targeted children with a new pencil brand introduced in August 2007. The Dixon My Right Hold Pencil was intended for preschoolers, 35 percent of whom may hold their pencil incorrectly. The color coded, triangular shaped pencil was tested on students and evaluated by 35 teachers. The three sides of the thick pencil are red, yellow, and green. These colors also appear on tiny stickers that students wear on three fingernails of their writing hand. The child matches the fingernail stickers to the pencil in order to achieve the correct positioning of the pencil in his or her hand.

After Faber-Castell acquired Creativity for Kids in 1999, it started a playing and learning line in 2000 to target children. One product is its Color Grip and Jumbo Grip pencils with a triangular shaped barrel, available in graphite and colored leads, with the same Grip dots used in the Grip 2001. All materials are non-toxic and safe for children.

Large institutional buyers are another target market for pencil manufacturers. For example, Dixon successfully targeted several state lottery commissions for whom it provides pencils. Sales to U.S. state controlled lotteries was in the range of 12 million pencils per year during the first decade of the twenty-first century. The promotional products industry is another target for pencil makers. The $10 billion promotional products industry includes apparel, writing instruments, and other merchandise emblazoned with a company name that is given away free at trade shows. Pens and pencils represent 12 percent of the promotional products market.

The target market made up of wealthy buyers is another that is targeted by pencil makers with products designed for those seeking luxury. Faber-Castell sells design collections of mechanical pencils. Its E-Motion mechanical pencil collection offers pencils with barrels made from maple or pear wood, or wood with a funky zebra or cowhide pattern. The wood barrel has a metal clip and for $30, features a German engineered twist action mechanism. The Grip 2011 mechanical pencil has a soft grip zone for a secure non-slip grip, ergonomic triangular section for tireless writing, available in classy silver, slate gray, and black for $13 each. Faber-Castell sells a desk set that contains five black-lead pencils, complete with silver-plated tips and extenders to protect the points, for $395. According to a 2007 article in The Economist, Faber-Castell re-introduced luxury pencils in the latter half of the first decade of the twenty-first century to bring back the handwriting culture. One such pencil is sold with a sterling silver cap and sells for $350.


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