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This Is Why "Assault" Versions Should Be Banned

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posted on Jan, 5 2013 @ 08:02 AM
I think we should now consider the American tradition of pencil making and our tradition of keeping fine pencils.
One such patriot and innovator of our art of pencil keeping and pencil using is Henry David Thoreau.
He believed in the right of Americans to use pencils with no restriction on quality.

No. 339:

In 1821, Charles Dunbar discovered graphite in New Hampshire. In those days they called graphite "plumbago." Dunbar set up a pencil factory with his brother-in-law, John Thoreau. When that plumbago ran out, they went to Massachusetts and then Canada. They made a good start, considering the poverty of American graphite. Most of it had a greasy, smeary, quality. English graphite was the best available, but it cost an arm and a leg.

John Thoreau's son, Henry David, was raised in the business. He studied at Harvard through the mid-1830's, but he also kept a hand in the business. Pencil leads were made by filling a groove in a piece of wood with a mixture of ground graphite and some kind of binder. Henry David Thoreau worked on the problem of making a better pencil out of inferior graphite.

He solved the problem by using clay as the binder. With clay he created a superior, smear-free pencil whose hardness was controllable. He made the Thoreau company into America's leading pencil maker.

That catches us off guard. Was the great transcendentalist, who rose above himself on the shores of Walden Pond, a successful inventor? Was this the same man who formulated the idea of civil disobedience? Was this the person who so effectively armed Gandhi and Martin Luther King?

Thoreau's clay-mixed graphite wasn't entirely original. The Germans had used something like it a few years earlier. It's not clear whether Thoreau had any inkling of the German process. But what is clear is that he transcended it. He developed a new grinding mill. He developed all sorts of process details. Historian Henry Petroski adds to the list of Thoreau's inventions -- a pipe forming machine, water wheel designs. They probably never told you in your English class that Thoreau often signed the words "Civil Engineer" after his name.

Yet Thoreau was content to walk away from an invention without making personal profit of it. He was, after all, the same man who wrote

... the seventh day should be man's day of toil ... and the other six his Sabbath of the affections and the soul -- in which to range this widespread garden, and drink in the soft influences and sublime revelations of Nature ...
Henry David Thoreau is sometimes painted as ineffective in the real world. He certainly did separate himself from the mad ambitions of mid-nineteenth century America.

But his legacy to us was shaped by an engineer's intimacy with firm-rooted reality. He knew the shores of Walden Pond were solid earth, as much as they were a flight of the mind.

I'm John Lienhard, at the University of Houston, where we're interested in the way inventive minds work.

So our altruistic and noble benefactor of the American pencil tradition was not a man of ambition. He was content to improve society with fine pencils. He walked away leaving us with a legacy of pencil making and pencil keeping.

let the pencils flow.

posted on Jan, 6 2013 @ 08:18 AM
reply to post by zedVSzardoz

Fallacy, appeal to history. Just because somebody made nice pencils back in the day doesn't mean that he intended for modern day pencil owners to have assault style pencils.

posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 08:34 AM
reply to post by Dispo

It is not a fallacy. What I see here is an effort to discontinue our pencil culture. It is an egregious assault on our heritage and our traditions.

Our very culture is being affronted by crazed maniacs out destroy the common mans ability to draw, write and document our lives in an efficient manner.

While millions of dollars were spent on substitutes by agencies like NASA with their gel pens, we have seen counterfeit and bootleg soviet knockoffs emerge in space and elsewhere. It is my opinion that big business is out to reduce the supply of quality pencils if not outright decimate our stock of them until astronomical prices are set to even a standard no2. This will effectively make pencil ownership a thing of the ultra rich and powerful.

The greatest of such greedy and treacherous deeds has taken from our hands the most advanced and perfected pencil ever made. The Blackwing 602.

It has been praised by artists, including Oscar winning animation director Chuck Jones and writers, including John Steinbeck, for writing text. So powerful and smooth was its writ that even an amateur could wield its almost unholy power to fashion everything from an elegant text to a simple line. TPTB seeing this, ordered an agent to sabotage the machinery of the Eberhard Faber company.

The Blackwing used a special eraser ferrule, which required special clips that could only be manufactured by a custom-made machine. By the time Eberhard Faber was acquired by Faber-Castell in 1994, this machine was broken; however, a sufficient backstock of ferrule clips enabled Blackwing manufacture to continue until 1998.[6] At this point, the company ceased production on the Blackwing, claiming it was not commercially successful.

Not commercially viable?

Initially sold for 50 cents each, as of 2012 reproduction pencils, called the "Palomino Blackwing 602" and made by California Cedar, are available in packages of 12 for 20 dollars.

That is quite the mark up for a bootleg pencil that was probably made in China don’t you think?

It is my belief that the Eberhard Faber company was being coerced into making inferior pencils by Faber-Castell ( a government front business) during their forceful acquisition and they refused. This prompted TPTB to force their hand and sabotage the machine that made the eraser ferrule clips so that the supply would eventually dwindle until the factory was forced to cease production.

Here is an excerpt from one of our own,Joseph Finder as he is describes his experience during the first signs of this aggression. It documents his struggles and the community that was shattered by this act of greed and treachery.

So the right pencil is important to me. Years ago, at a stationery store in Harvard Square called Bob Slate’s, I discovered the best pencil ever. It was called the Blackwing 602, made by Eberhard Faber. It was perfectly designed, hexagonal so it wouldn’t roll off your desk, with lead that was creamy soft but not too soft. A great oblong eraser you could pull out to extend its use. Its embossed motto: “Half the pressure, twice the speed.” (Who wouldn’t want half the pressure and twice the speed?) In a world of yellow pencils it was silvery gray.

and here we see the direct market effect TPTB wanted to see. They crafted this so as to control the supply if they could not control the production. It is a lesson we must strive to learn.

Then one day I went into Slate’s and learned, to my horror, that the Blackwing 602 was no more. It had been discontinued. Frantic, I launched into action. I enlisted my assistant to call every stationery distributor, every mom-and-pop stationery store in the country, and buy up as many boxes of Blackwings as we could find. In time, we’d amassed a closet full of them.

When the terrible news spread throughout the Blackwing Underground, my fellow obsessives began buying them up too. Writer friends of mine who learned of my stockpile — Andre Gregory (of “My Dinner With Andre”) and Roger Rosenblatt — began calling me to ask if I could spare one . . . or a box. Soon, Blackwings began popping up on eBay for $20 each. In fact, I just checked eBay and found one for $38.99 — for a single pencil.

So there we have it. This is not about pencils and their danger to the public. It is about the bottom line. It is an effort to control the production or the supply of ALL pencils so that only the ultra rich and powerful can own them.

What will be the effect of this in the long run? Students going to school with empty pencil cases. SAT scores dropping by over 90%, ? who knows.

What is certain is that if we wish to remain in control of our pencil traditions and maintain our manufacturing ability of them over others like China and Soviet Russia, we must fight to keep the pencils of all makes and designs in our hands.

Let the pencils flow......

edit on 7-1-2013 by zedVSzardoz because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 12:29 PM
reply to post by zedVSzardoz


Assault pencils were designed with one purpose in mind - to dispense lead as quickly and as easily as possible. There is no reason for anyone in this day and age to own an assault style pencil except the government and the police. They need these things, YOU don't.

I think all pencils should be banned tbh, but assault pencils is a good start.

posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 12:33 PM
reply to post by Dispo

I think all pencils should be banned tbh, but assault pencils is a good start

Keeping my fingers crossed that it will come to this.

I already have an underground pencil factory started... I'm going to make money hand over fist selling blackmarket pencils! WOOOOHOOOOO!

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