Soapy graphite 6


Produced in Poland for PZ Cussons, a manufacturer of soap and personal hygiene products from North West England, this shaving cream is very interesting for pencileers, molyvophiles1 and molyvologues2 – mainly because of its name. Disappointment is however unavoidable after a quick look at the list of ingredients: there is no graphite in this cream. This is possibly a precaution to spare modern office workers the chimney sweeper look when they go to the office after having used a graphite based shaving cream. Graphite lovers will have to make do with pencils and graphite pots, but they can be satisfied with the knowledge that there are personal hygiene products with them in mind, even though they don’t contain graphite…



A big thank you to Sean from The Blackwing Pages for making the world a happier place by inventing the word pencileer and to Lito from Palimpsest for enriching our vocabulary with the word molyvologue.

I bought the razor, seen in the photo, many years ago. It’s Merkur’s 34C, which has been on the market for 80 years. I was very surprised when I recently noticed that the 34C won About’s Reader Choice razor of the year 2011 award. What a good choice. This razor is really great.

  1. Someone passionate about pencils []
  2. A student of pencils []

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6 thoughts on “Soapy graphite

  • Stationery Traffic

    Personally I wouldn’t want graphite in my shaving cream.

    I have a Merkur 34C as well; I wonder how many pencil/fountain pen enthusiasts also like to use other “old fashioned” technology like this?

  • Sean

    “…chimney sweeper look…” I actually laughed out loud when I read that.

    Perhaps they were hoping to imbue their product with the character of ‘smoothness’ with naming the line ‘graphite’?

  • Matthias

    Thanks for your comments

    Stationery Traffic, oh, exactly the same model – what a coincidence. I agree that there seems to be a positive correlation – which might also include cameras/photography and watches. The watches bit is however lost on me, probably because I always use a digital watch and don’t find analogue watches convenient (I am so amazingly primitive that I still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea).

    Sean, maybe the smoothness was really the reason I cannot think of another reason, unless manliness is associated with graphite (which it probably isn’t)… Since the smoothness in pencil leads comes from the mixture of high quality waxes (see position 4:15 in the video) added you could, I guess, make a shaving cream with similar waxes as the ones used in pencil leads, as long as they are not “unhealthy”. Keeping one of Timberline’s posts in mind: There could be a Blackwing shaving cream.

  • Kiwi-d

    Graphite shaving cream – could lead to whole new type of “pencil-head”.

    Molyvophiles. Cool word, but I can’t find it’s derivation or origin. Can you enlighten me?

  • memm Post author

    Sean, I’d buy it. The tube would come from California, while the shaving cream is a new Japanese formulation that tries to produce results similar as an old American formulation.

    Kiwi-d, I cannot explain the derivation completely, but I can tell you where the two components of the word are from. The modern Greek word for pencil is molyvi, I thought this could be made into a word similar to theophile or audiophile. You’d mix modern and ancient Greek, but audiophile is a mix of Latin and Greek, so I guess it’s ok. I thought the word would be molyviphile and would describe someone who loves pencils. After asking Lito from Palimpsest, she suggest molyvophile. Even though Ancient Greek is taught in my state (and many of my classmates chose it) I picked French instead (and forgot it all by now), so I am not sure how the ‘i’ changed into an ‘o’. I am sure Lito can explain. (My bet would be that it’s because of a Genitive.)