Monday, November 21, 2011

Pedigree pencil


I don’t think so. Not really. It might be from the 1970s or 1980s.

Well, that’s at least twenty-two years ago.

I guess you’re right.

[Silent contemplation of time’s passing.]

So what do you know about this pencil?

Not much. I know that Empire used to be a big name in pencils, and that the company was based in Shelbyville, Tennessee. I remember that there used to be all sorts of stationery supplies bearing the Pedigree name.

I remember that too. This 1972 ad shows a bunch of them.

I haven’t seen that stuff in years.

[Silent contemplation of time’s passing.]

So you must have a bunch of these pencils?

I must have had a bunch of them. But this one is the only one I’ve got — just mixed in with some other loose pencils in a drawer. I was never a big fan of the Pedigree.

How come?

I remember the Pedigree as particularly unpleasant to write with — unyielding, really. The pencil made the writer’s bump on my middle finger mighty sore. And the erasers seemed to dry out quickly. Besides, I just never liked the design. The eraser’s sickly green, the ferrule’s dull brown band — those colors don’t even go together. And the overly busy text running down the body — it looks like a poor man’s Mongol. I especially don’t like the registered trademark symbol and the ugly Empire mark. And “Anchord Lead?” Did they have to misspell it?


Look — you asked, okay?

I guess you’re right.

Whatever you say.

[This post is the twelfth in an occasional series, “From the Museum of Supplies.” The museum is imaginary. The supplies are real. Supplies is my word, and has become my family’s word, for all manner of stationery items. Photograph by Michael Leddy.]

Also from the Museum of Supplies
Dennison’s Gummed Labels No. 27
Eagle Turquoise display case
Eagle Verithin display case
Fineline erasers
Illinois Central Railroad Pencil
A Mad Men sort of man, sort of
Mongol No. 2 3/8
Moore Metalhed Tacks
Real Thin Leads
Rite-Rite Long Leads
Stanley carpenter’s rule

comments: 4

Adair said...

I remember the Pedigree as a cheaper sort of pencil. It was usually on sale at dime-stores such as Woolworth's or McCrory's. I agree that it wasn't an outstanding pencil, but some of the more specialized pencils from this company were better, such as the thin, round-barreled ones for stenography (also available at Woolworth's) and their great red-and-blue twin pencils. Pedigree also had wonderful school products, much in the same style as Sterling Plastics: protractors, pencil cases, sharpeners...I can still see that stationery section at Woolworth's, dazzling and well-stocked by today's standards, though in its time not considered anything special.

Michael Leddy said...

I forgot about the red-and-blue ones, with silver lettering, correct?

Adair said...

Silver or gold---I forget. Most likely silver, yes. But the red was real, rich, fire-truck red, and the blue was deep Prussian; neither color was shiney. I saw a more recent red-blue twin pencil from another company---Sanford, perhaps?--and the colors had become somehow metalic or like reflective mylar .

Michael Leddy said...

Adair, now I’m wondering If I have one of those red-and-blue Pedigrees. I’ll have to look.