Pencils stay sharp against tablets with strong growth
April 9, 2012 | 10:39 am CDT

Heathrow, Fla. – Just in time for National Pencil Day (March 30), Dixon Ticonderoga Co. announced today that consumer fascination with high-tech tablets hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm for pencils. Citing a new Office Supplies Data Alert by the NPD Group, sales of pencils in the United States increased 6.8 percent in 2011, compared with a year earlier.

“We’re encouraged that, in an era of tablet innovation, the pencil still stands tall for consumers,” said Timothy M. Gomez, CEO of Dixon Ticonderoga Co., with headquarters in the Central Florida community of Heathrow. “This gives us even more reason to celebrate National Pencil Day.”

Dixon Ticonderoga is marking National Pencil Day with a trivia quiz, encouraging people to sharpen their writing instruments and knowledge of pencils in anticipation of the 100th anniversary in 2013 of those famous yellow No. 2 pencils. “We’re already in preparation for our centennial celebration, with new products ready to be announced. This is going to be a terrific year for the company,” Gomez said.

Pencil Quiz

1. Many standardized tests start with the phrase “take out your No. 2 pencil.” But what the heck does the “2” stand for?

a. Its cool factor

b. Sharpness of the tip

c. The writing core’s hardness

d. Size/length of pencil

2. What do you call that little section of exposed shaved wood just above the writing point?

a. Tip

b. Ferrule

c. Blade

d. Finger holder

e. Collar

3. What famous children’s book author couldn’t start the day without sharpening six Dixon Ticonderoga No.2’s?

a. Carolyn Keene

b. Roald Dahl c. Mother Goose d. J.K. Rowling

4. How do European pencils differ from those sold in America?

a. European pencils don’t have erasers

b. European pencils are shorter

c. European pencils are actually pens

5. According to the book “How to Sharpen Pencils” (yes, that really is a book), what is the ideal length of a freshly sharpened pencil?

a. 7.46875 inches

b. 5 inches

c. 6.25 inches

d. 6.75 inches

6. How many words can a typical (and world's best) pencil write? Please let us know if your findings differ.

a. 45,000

b. 10,000

c. 4,500

d. 30,000

7. Those famous No. 2 pencils are made with lead.

a. True

b. False

8. In which of these scenarios can a pencil write effectively?

a. Zero gravity

b. Upside down

c. Under water

d. All of the above

e. None of the above

9. How did the "world’s smartest pencil" earn that distinction?

a. It can recite the U.S. Constitution – backwards

b. It corrects misspellings automatically

c. It automatically advances the writing point

10. Which of the following companies is the oldest U.S. pencil manufacturer still making

pencils today?

a. Graphite No. 2 LLC

b. Slate Rock and Gravel Co.

c. Dixon Ticonderoga Co.

d. Prang & Lyra Corp.


1. (c) – The “2” does, in fact, stand for the hardness or blackness of the writing core. If we

were judging its cool factor, however, it would be No. 1.

2. (e) – The shaved part of the pencil is called the collar. So, what’s a ferrule (pronounced FER-ool)? It’s the famous Ticonderoga green and yellow metal eraser holder.

3. (b) – According to the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, the author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” sharpened six Dixon Ticonderoga pencils before starting to write each day.

4. (a) – Crazy, huh? Our friends across the pond must be very confident in their writing skills. European pencils come without erasers. We think the best part about using a pencil is being able to erase your mistakes.

5. (a) – Some experts will tell you that pencil sharpening is an art that requires

time and attention to detail. That might be okay for artisans, but for those in a hurry, you can get our expertly pre-sharpened pencils at a nearby store.

6. (a) – That’s right, the typical pencil can write as many as 45,000 words. How many did your pencil write?

7. (b) – The Dixon Ticonderoga No. 2 pencil has an exclusively formulated graphite core that allows for extra smooth writing performance.

8. (d) – It’s true: Pencils are the ideal writing instrument for a multitude of situations.

9. (c) – Dixon Ticonderoga’s mechanical pencil doesn’t need clicking or twisting. If only it could spell, too!

10. (c) – Our roots go deep, all the way back to 1795, when we were founded as the Philadelphia to Lancaster Turnpike Road Company. We became Dixon Ticonderoga Co. in 1983. In fact, we are one of the oldest companies in the United States. By the way, if you guessed “D”, you weren’t completely wrong. Our extensive product line includes Ticonderoga, Prang, Dixon, Oriole and Lyra brands.

Source: Dixon Ticonderoga Co.


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