An Alternate History of the Mongol Pencil (or Yes Virginia, there is a Pencildom)

This is the earliest use of the word “Pencildom” I’ve seen (1912), and it’s capitalized no less:


I’ve only ever used the word jokingly, but seeing it printed in a 100-year-old magazine suggests that perhaps there just might be a Pencildom. After all, who would go to the trouble of printing it if it wasn’t true? If so, then we need look no further than Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Kubla Khan for the connection to the Mongols:

“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately Pencildom decree:”

Some very obscure and dubious editions of Kubla Khan have “pleasure-dome” instead of “Pencildom”, but perhaps now’s the time to give the poem a second look, and to be free of this graphite albatross once and for all.

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6 Responses to An Alternate History of the Mongol Pencil (or Yes Virginia, there is a Pencildom)

  1. Well, this calls for a pencil “in tribute”: the Mount Abora, perhaps?


  2. Elaine Fine says:

    . . . And the ads could feature a damsel with a dulcimer.


    • Sean says:

      …which by the way was the original use of the eraser—as a soft mallet for the hammer dulcimer—not as a corrective tool. 🙂

      (I feel compelled to leave smiley faces for unwary visitors).


  3. Pingback: I’m Sure They Meant Well | Contrapuntalism

  4. Pingback: Musical Pencils | Contrapuntalism

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