It probably isn't very helpful to tell you that I only have collected the things that I like.  But I have set some parameters for the items that find their way into my collection:

  • It must be a mechanical pencil and not a lead holder (see the History of Mechanical Pencils page to learn the difference).
  • It must be vintage or a direct descendant of a vintage piece (which is why my Sheaffer and Parker collections stop where they do).  In my mind, "vintage" refers more to obsolescence than to any specific year.
  • It must be representative of a brand.  Unmarked pieces don't find their way here unless I can conclusively attribute them to a specific manufacturer.
  • It must have been made in North America or widely exported to North America when new.

This site was designed to provide a comprehensive listing of manufacturers, so a visitor who has a question about a specific manufacturer can quickly find information on that make.  However, for the beginner looking to learn about pencils, the list can be pretty daunting, so here's a quick guide to different pages:

 1.    The "Big Four."  The American pen and pencil industry was dominated in the 19th and 20th centurys by four companies:  Parker, Waterman, Sheaffer and Wahl Eversharp.  Articles on these 4 companies have a large number of pictures and information concerning the pencils they produced.

 2.    "Second Tier" manufacutrers.  These were prolific companies that produced a large number of high quality pencils, so these pages have a lot of photos and good information:

3.    "Cult" manufacturers.   These are manufacturers whose fame comes not from the pens they made, but from the interesting pencils they produced.  These often fly under the radar in the fountain pen community.

 4.   Great stories.  Check these out for some of the interesting characters

5.    Other neat manufacturers.  These are manufacturers who stand out from the crowd:

 6.   The crowd.  Common manufacturers, such as:

(click on pictures to enlarge)

  
 

 

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
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