A virtual mini-museum of the halcyon days of the Canadian pencil industry.
The Dixon Chancellor is a relatively rare pencil to find. I recently found one in fair condition. The Chancellor was made by the Joseph Dixon Crucible Company of New Jersey before established a factory in Canada. I saw an advertisement from 1920 listing the Chancellor as well as other Dixon pencils for sale in Canada. The Dixon Company purchased the William Cane & Sons Pencil factory in Newmarket, Ontario in 1931 and established the Dixon Pencil Company of Canada. It is quite possible that the made in Canada Chancellor is just a re-branded Cane's pencil and likely made on the same equipment in the same factory. The Chancellor was made through at least the 1940s using Canadian graphite from the Black Donald Graphite Mine in Ontario. I'm not sure if Dixon ceased production of this pencil in 1954 when this source of graphite closed or if they found an alternate source of Canadian graphite and continued production.
Dixon had a nation wide advertising campaign in 1935 highlighting their new Chancellor pencil. You can see a few ads from newspapers across Canada below.
What great colour... perhaps my favourite. Carmine is a purplish-red pigment, made from dye obtained from the cochineal beetle; carminic acid or any of its derivatives.
A few recent finds. The Senator is a really nice pencil but I'm not sure who made it. The Domino from Dixon is a beautiful pencil and the Pedigree is newer but I find very few Empire pencils that were made in Canada so this is rare for me.
A couple of recent finds. I really like the old fonts on these pencils. I think Semi-Glo were only made in Canada. I don't know much about the Brilliant pencils.
Also found an Atlas No. 38 pencil and two Berol Turquoise pencils. Not sure what company made the Atlas pencil but the knurled ferrule seems distinctive. Looks like something perhaps from Eagle.
I found a nice bunch of vintage Canadian made pencils yesterday. Included were three Eagle pencils I don't have in my collection: an red Academic 40-HB, a Valor 131-H and a Mirado 172-2H. The 172 is the no ferule version of the more common 174. I also found a nice Venus Medalist - 1605 HB. While this pencil has no ferule, I've seen older versions of this pencil with the number 727 and a ferule with a green band.
I found this collection of vintage red pencils at a second hand shop today. I imagine that this is a from a teacher's collection of checking pencils used for marking papers. Three different red pencils, all with shiny gold imprints from three different Canadian pencil factories. The Berol Canadiana and Dixon Red 2210-R pencils are round and the Venus Handy-Check pencil is hexagonal.
Found a nice box with five unsharpened, Canadian made, Eagle Turquoise drawing pencils today at a second hand shop. Four 3H pencils and one 2H pencil. "Electronic" lead sounds super high tech.
In the 1960s there were four main pencil factories in Canada.
Venus Velvet 6557
The Venus Pencil Company Ltd. was established in Canada in 1931 as a subsidiary of the American Lead Pencil Company. In Canada, the Venus Velvet was given the number 6557 to set it apart from the American made Venus Velvet with the number 3557. Venus was purchased by Faber-Castell in the early 1970s (sometime after 1973) but continued to make Venus Velvet pencils.
Dixon Ticonderoga 1386
The Dixon factory in Newmarket, Ontario operated from 1931 to 1990. These pencils sport the distinctive green and yellow ferrule.
Eberhard Faber Mongol 482
These pencils were made at the Eberhard Faber factory in Acton Vale, Quebec. This factory was officially opened on June 28th, 1951. In early 1978, it became a division of Dixon-Ticonderoga and production shifted to eraser products and correction materials (through at least 2003). From what I can tell, the factory building is still there may still make erasers. While Mongol pencils are no longer made in Canada, these are still manufactured by Papermate in Venezuala and by Amspec in the Philippines.
Eagle Mirado 174
The Eagle factory was established in Drummondville, Quebec in 1931 and operated until 1994. In the late 1960s (1969?) Eagle changed its name to Berol and these pencils continued production under this brand name. Mirado pencils made by Papermate in Latin America are quite easy to find in North America and still carry the red-banded gold ferrule .
I compared four pencils from roughly the same vintage (mid-1960s to mid-1970s). Of these four pencils, my favourite to write with is the Venus Velvet. It is very smooth and held a point well. I was surprised by how soft the Eagle Mirado was. The HB Mirado was much softer than than even the B Mongol. I liked the Ticonderoga and Mongol and it was very hard to distinguish between these other than looks. My least favourite was the Mirado. It was just too soft and the point dulled very quickly. It also didn't sharpen quite as nicely as the others.
S-Marque Inc. (which I believe later became Basics Office Products) sold Canadian made pencils. These pencils were manufactured by Dixon Ticonderoga Inc. for S-Marque probably in the mid-1980s. They were one of several companies that Dixon manufactured "Stripe Design" pencils for. These stripe design pencils had a band of yellow about the ferrule at the end of a pencil. Actually, the ferrule pictured on the box looks just like a Ticonderoga ferrule.
Below is a pencil lightly labeled "Made in Canada" from Zellers, a defunct Canadian discount retailer. The ferrule with the yellow strip is identical to the S-Marque pencil above. This is likely another "stripe design" pencil that was made by Dixon.
The Study 808 is a jumbo sized pencil created for early elementary students learning to write. I don't have very many Empire Pencil Company pencils made in Canada. I'm assuming that these pencils were made in the old Eagle factory in Drummodville, QC. Eagle became part of the Berol Corporation and later Berol was purchased by Empire in the mid-1980s. The two-pack of Study pencils seen below say Montreal, Quebec, Canada at the bottom.
Eagle Alpha 245
The Empire Study pencil is very similar to the Eagle Alpha pencil also made in Canada and probably at the same factory in Quebec. The Study might be a slightly larger outside diameter.