Dixon’s Ticonderoga is another one of those pencils that seems to have been around forever, along with the Eberhard Faber Mongol and the Faber-Castell Castell 9000. Because of its long history there have been many versions and varieties, but this pre-war example is characterized by its unique eraser.
Its design was patented in 1933 by H.B. Van Dorn:
I can’t say if this was the first of its kind (despite the fact it’s patented) as there were a wide variety of eraser shapes and types available between the turn of the previous century and the Second World War. The shape appears to leverage the advantages inherent to circular erasers, mainly a thin edge that can fit into tight spaces. Once the “halo” wears down you’re still left with a usable, standard-type eraser tip. What interests me most though is that the ferrule has a slot cut into both sides to accommodate the circle, which must have introduce at least one, of not several, additional steps in manufacturing (and by extension, required new machinery).
The ferrules have Dixon’s unique double band, though these are painted yellow; later examples would have two bands of green.
For more about this pencil, here is an excellent post from Pencil Talk: The Dixon 1395 Pencil.
Not sure what to think about the looks, but this certainly seems to make erasing single letters easier.
Kokuyo’s erasers seem to be sufficiently successful, so I wonder whether we’ll see something similar again on a pencil in the future (…since pencil manufacturers have used your work in the past I wouldn’t be too surprised if this gets picked up – and these days it might be relatively cheap to produce shaped erasers).
The edges seem almost too thin to have been very effective, so it’s hard to know how much of this design might have been a gimmick versus an attempt to further eraser design. I wonder if anyone tried a similar design but with another disc crossing at 90˚, kind of like what you see on maces from the Middle Ages.
Now that would make for a good pencil fight. 🙂
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