When Mr. B and I were in San Francisco earlier this year I came across a box of the most interesting pencils. I am a sucker for great stationery supplies and writing instruments so I will admit to buying a box of pencils simply because I liked their unique look. Specifically, I purchased the Blackwing Pearl.
Knowing that I was about to embark on the makeover of my office space at the time, I thought a handful of these would look great displayed on my desk. But instead of sticking them in a pencil cup and calling it good, I decided to learn more about them. A pencil is just a pencil, right? Wrong! It turns out that the Blackwing pencil can be traced back to the 1930’s when it was first introduced by Eberhard Faber. After several corporate acquisitions took place, the Blackwing was discontinued in 1998. Due to its cult following it is not surprising that once discontinued people began paying upwards of $40 for a single Blackwing pencil. The beloved Blackwing has since been reintroduced and is now manufactured by Palomino Brands.
I have growing admiration of such an ordinary, everyday product. Apparently, I am not alone. The pencil is favored among artists and music composers for its lead quality. Grammy, Emmy, Pulitzer, and Academy Award winners have created with Blackwing pencils, including Chuck Jones who used the Blackwing “602” pencil to create Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote and countless other Looney Tunes characters. In learning more about Blackwing I found out that there are even entire blogs devoted to it. It’s even been spotted in movies and television shows.
One of the obvious differences between a regular pencil and the Blackwing is the signature eraser that can be replaced. A metal clip easily pulls out and the eraser slides right out. Black erasers come standard issue with the Blackwing Pearl. I purchased replacement erasers in white and swapped them out to match my desk and office better. The devil is in the details, right?
Isn’t it funny how once you learn of something, you start seeing it in more and more places? A few days ago I spotted the limited edition Blackwing 1138 (below) at a local stationary store. The flawless, ultra smooth lacquer like finish of this limited edition pencil would look great in a modern office. Trust me…the photo does not do this pencil justice.
A couple of weeks ago I received the September 2016 Pottery Barn catalog in the mail. A large portion of the catalog is devoted to home office decor. Have you seen it?
It’s no secret that the stylists working for Pottery Barn are nothing short of genius and quite honestly, while looking through their catalogs I spend most of my time looking at the background props. In the September catalog I spotted the Blackwing pencil and as I kept flipping from page to page it started to feel like a game of “Where’s Waldo?”. You can play along with me. Can you spot the Blackwing pencils in each of the catalog pictures below?
Over the last many years I have seen a major shift in the design of office supplies. They are much more stylish than ever before. And while I don’t think the intent of the Blackwing was to ever be stylish, cool and hip, I do think it makes for a great office supply even if you aren’t an artist. If you want to buy your own Blackwings they are available through Amazon (where I bought my replacement erasers) or in person at a variety of shops.