Blaisdell Paper Pencil Company was founded in 1898 in Philadelphia, PA, three years after Frederick Blaisdell received a patent for the paper pencil and the machine to make them. Paper pencils, also known as China markers, were wrapped in paper and string. When one would pull the string the paper would curl off and expose more of the pencil (or pretty much crayon). Blaisdell eventually got into the graphite pencil business and produced the well-loved Calculator 600 pencil which was one of John Steinbeck’s favorites. The Ben Franklin pencil was their “every day” pencil and were made in mass quantities. The Ben Franklin can be found from time to time on Ebay.
I was excited this week to be using a vintage pencil. I have found that vintage pencils have a far superior quality to what is offered nowadays (there are a few exceptions, of course). The Ben Franklin performed beautifully and nailed each and every category I rate my pencils on. The barrel of the pencil was classic yellow with a glossy black imprint. A nice touch was the “2” on the pencil was stamped in a metallic blue. The pencil sharpened up nicely and had a strong, deep smell of cedar. Not once did I experience point breakage and the graphite wore down evenly and smoothly. I really love the ferrule on this pencil– it is a nice gold with a white stripe around the middle.
I can’t comment on the eraser since it crumbled off when I tried to use it (the pencil is over 30 years old!). The Ben Franklin has a nice weight to it and it a bit on the lighter side (pre-eraser fiasco), but nothing too serious. I have nothing really negative to say about this pencil. I obtained mine from Caroline at CW Pencil Enterprise, but it appears that she does not carry it anymore. I am glad this pencil wore down slowly since it was a joy to use. Overall: 9/10