Discovered in our Scout group’s hut, this American-made Dixon Trimline not only made it into Europe, it also managed to survive several decades hidden between other pencils and kept in pristine condition.
Notice the slim and elegant font and the blind-stamped U.S.A., left of the writing.
A smidge of the beautiful orange paints seems to have made it’s way into some of the knurling on the ferrule.
The last photo ended up a bit blurry, but if you are using a computer to read this then please have a closer look at this pencil by clicking on the (other) photos to admire this pencil’s details.
Startlingly expensive. Yes, I think if I were to tell you how much more expensive it was it would be fair to say that you would be startled. Freely adapted from Chapter 27 of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, by Douglas Adams, 1987.
As a pencileer, molyvophile and molyvologue See explanation in this blog post. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Independence Day than to sharpen an American pencil with an American blade.
…but which pencil to choose? In the end I narrowed it down to the Mongol and the Ticonderoga. As these pencils where also made in other countries I obviously only put the American made versions on the short list.
In the end I did go with the Ticonderoga, just because I thought Faber-Castell takes some of the emphasis on the USA away. So, the chosen pencil is the Dixon’s American Ticonderoga. I did have a few of them in stock, but haven’t actually used them yet. My Ticonderoga experience so far was limited to the ‘Korean’ Ticonderogas, the awful Ticonderoga Renew and the Microban Ticonderogas.
The knife was easy to choose, my Leatherman Style CS …just because it is the only knife I own that is, as far as I know, made in the United States of America.
OK, let’s start sharpening. Because I only have a few of these American made Ticonderogas I want a less acute angle than usual – I just don’t want to waste too much of the nice pencil.
I don’t want to go for a proper obtuse angle either, as that would probably be a very strange writing experience.
Here way are. By the way, the American blade was sharpened with something American, too: The Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker, which could also be used to sharpen blades of pencil sharpeners.
Happy Independence Day!
As usual, please click on the pictures to see them in a higher resolution.
Assumed origin: from Greek thema + -graph: An instrument for writing about a topic, theme or proposition
The Temagraph has been available for some time now, but in the past it was only available under the Fila brand name. You can see pictures of the old Fila Temagraph at Lápis and Pencils and at pencil talk. After Fila (Italy) bought Dixon (USA) and Lyra (Germany) they started ‘adjusting’ their products, including the Temagraph. The Temagraph suddenly started to look pretty much like the Dixon Ticonderoga (metallic green font on a yellow pencil) and is now marketed It’s advertising includes promises such as “The best designers choose the excellent lines of Temagraph pencils.” and “The best illustrators choose the clean line left by … Continue reading as a Lyra pencil, rather than as a Fila pencil.
Two sides of the pencil are a labelled. The Temagraph side is labelled in metallic green. Opposite is the barcode side, labelled in black. The Temagraph has a end cap similar to the Noris, indicating lead hardness, but with a straight line around the corners.
The FSC code on the packaging doesn’t leave any doubt about the Temagraph being linked to the Ticonderoga. The certificate is linked to the Beijing Fila Dixon Stationery Co., LtdTimberlines has further information about the Chinese manufacturer of these pencils. and shows that the pencil is made using Tilia spp., which includes many species of linden trees (also called lime trees or basswood).
Even though it is officially a Lyra pencil (and Lyra is/was a German brand) I have never seen this pencil in any shop in Germany. It dos however seem to be more popular in Fila’s home country Italy. When looking for the Temagraph on Amazon UK I could only find Italian sellers offering this pencil. Mine are from a local shop in Germany. They didn’t stock any, but a few years ago I asked them to order a few for me.
The Temagraph feels fairly smooth and puts down a very dark line. As you might have guessed from the fact that it’s a dark line – the lead rather soft, which means that point retention is not as good as it is with a normal pencil. In my case that means that I’m happy to use the Temagraph for writing the occaional sentence (think calendar entries), but I wouldn’t want to use it write a lot as it would need sharpening too often.
The Eisen 480
I sharpened the Temagraph with Eisen’s model 480. The Eisen 480 sharpens with an angle of approx. 21°. It’s a container sharpener that comes with an eraser, to some extent similar to the Faber-Castell Sharpener-eraser pen 18 44 01. The container for the shavings can be rotated and will lock in one of two positions: sharpener accessible and sharpener closed, to prevent shavings from falling out.
The eraser comes with a lid and fits exactly under the lid. Eraser performance is good. It’s a TPR (thermoplastic rubber) eraser that produces strands that roll together, to some extent similar to a dust-free eraser, but not as extreme, but eraser performance overall is no match for the excellent performance of the sharpener, which produces a nice, continuous strand of shavings with a thickness of about 0.2 mm. The blade is made in Baiersdorf, the container is made in Taicang, where assembly takes place, and the eraser is bought in.
The grey background in the photos (except the last photo) is from Atoma’s Alain Bertreau notebook. I placed the items in the A4 version of this notebook.
I bought the Temagraph in Germany, but can’t remember how much I paid for them.
I have received the Eisen 480 as a free sample from Eisen. Mr. Leistner provided further information. I don’t believe that, when I received the sample, Eisen was aware that I have a blog. I also don’t believe that not having paid for this sharpener has influenced my opinion of the sharpener in any way.
It’s advertising includes promises such as “The best designers choose the excellent lines of Temagraph pencils.” and “The best illustrators choose the clean line left by Temagraph pencils! Superior quality, gold series, fine graphite for clean-cut lines, Temagraph pencils come with an extra-resistant and easy to sharpen and original green metal band indicating the grade.” Despite this promise the green band isn’t made from metal. I’m also not sure though what the green band is resistant to, why you would want to sharpen it. The green band doesn’t indicate the grade either. I’m not sure whether the best illustrators really choose the Temagraph, so like with a lot of advertising I choose not to believe this until I see proof supporting this statement.
Has the current Ticonderoga been developed in Korea?
Pencil talk mentioned that the different version of this pencil have different cores. This could also mean that not the whole pencil, but that only the core for the Korean version has been developed there – to fit local preferences.
Other Fila pencils I have at my disposal do not emphasise where they have been developed. A pack of Lyra pencils has this sentence printed on the packaging: “Made in China under LYRA-Germany quality standards”, while Dixon pencil packaging only states where the pencils have been produced: Triconderoga: “Made in Mexico”, Ticonderoga Renew: “Made in USA”.
FILA’s global pencil
The Triconderoga blister pack comes with a fantastic sharpener from Eisen.
I would like to thank Kent for the AMOS DIXON Ticonderoga.
I would like to thank Sean for the Triconderoga and the Ticonderoga Renew.