In the US we all know and love the Dixon Ticonderoga as a school staple but around the world there's a different standard. Here are a few favorites that we stock:
Portugal: Viarco Desenho HB
We just love Viarco. Their pencils are economical, beautiful and great quality. This is not necessarily the most popular school pencil in Portugal but it is certainly the most recognizable from Portugal's only pencil manufacturer.
Germany (and also most of Western Europe): Staedtler Noris HB
I first discovered this pencil at Staples in the UK while I was studying there and was thrilled to find it to be better than any big box pencil in the US. As with most non-US pencils, it doesn't have an eraser but is instead dipped in red on the end. We love it because its adorable and also just a good, basic HB.
India: Nataraj 621 HB
These pencils are rarely found outside Southeast Asia and are cased in Indian Poplar. They're made by Hindustan Pencil Co., the largest manufacturer in India. I really believe that as far as inexpensive pencils go this is the best quality for the money. The graphite is true HB and really just a pleasure to write with.
Switzerland: Caran d'Ache Edelweiss HB
Named for an alpine flower, this pencil is Switzerland's national pencil brand's standard for school use. The Staedtler Noris is also super common in Switzerland but this one is the most authentically Swiss school pencil. It's awesome because the graphite is smooth and dark without being smudgy--we haven't met a single person yet who hates it.
USA: General's Semi-Hex #2
Most of us recognize the Ticonderoga as America's pencil but we'd argue that this one is more genuine. Don't get me wrong, we love Ticonderogas, the early 2000s black one was my gateway pencil but they're no longer made in the US and aren't the same quality they used to be. The General Pencil Company was founded in 1889 in Jersey City and has been making this trademark yellow #2 for 100+ years.
Get your #2 on and in the meantime let us know if you remember a classic school pencil from your home country!
PS. We've put together a Global School Pencil package together so you can try them all! Find it here.