When I was just a wee lad of 18-19 I attended Fresno City College and lived with my wonderful white haired Grandmother. I took my first college level creative writing classes and found out I was a hack, but with potential. The class was a contemporary poetry writing/reading course taught by Mr. Dewayne Rail. It was wonderful. What does that have to do with pencils? Everything. Poetry, like many art forms, is a sensual experience. Sensual as in sense-filled. Can be the other too, but. Anyway, I learned to love the smell of freshly sharpened pencils; the wood…the graphite. Lovely. I used terrible technique during that period of my writing life. I reasoned that the best writing came from sorrow, so I would attempt to hunker down in a ‘man’ufactured sorrow and write from that place. Not recommended. Not necessary. But, back to the pencil. I kept 3-4 Ticonderoga 1 Ex-Soft pencils within reach. I wrote until a pencil was not sharp enough for my taste then selected another. The sound of pencil lead etching art onto paper was, well, cool. It was the late 70s/early 80s. I think cool was still the word.
History of the wonderful Ticonderoga pencil. (wikipedia)
The Ticonderoga is a pencil model distributed by the Dixon Ticonderoga Company, founded in the 19th century, which was originally located in downtown Jersey City, New Jersey. Recently they have ceased US production of the Ticonderoga Pencil, but own and operate facilities outside the US in Italy, France, Asia, Latin America and Germany. Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils are no longer made in the USA.
Dixon Ticonderoga pencils are available in different grades: #1 (Extra Soft), #2 (Soft), #2½ (Medium), #3 (Hard), and #4 (Extra Hard).
The company has its origins in the Joseph Dixon Crucible Company of New Jersey, an organization founded in 1827 by Joseph Dixon and his son based upon the Tantiusques graphite mine in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. The pencil’s name originates in the graphite ore mined on Lead Mountain and processed in Ticonderoga, New York since 1815.