The Geography of Pencil History: France

Written By Caroline Weaver - February 16 2018


Colin Ellis
May 15 2019

I cannot believe that I have only just found your site and especially the section on The Geography of Pencil History: from various countries. I have been a collector of antique Porte Crayons and member of the Writing Equipment Society in which I have written an article on the subject of Porte Crayons and their history, can I take this opportunity of thanking you for this most interesting and informative set of articles.

February 21 2018

Very interesting article, but a few remarks:

Conté (the brand) was bought by Bic in 1979, the « Conté à Paris » brand (not to be confused with « just Conté », which disappeared around 2004 too) was then bought by ColArt international in 2004, and yes, these are now made by CFC :)
According to the CFC littérature, their plant is a former Conté plant, and they retained employees from the Conté era…well, that’s what they say!

Bic still makes pencils in France, but only the dreadful extruded « Evolution » and all the variants. Bic wooden pencil are now made in China…I wish CWPE carried a few of them, like the 33 or the 255, still interesting pencils, Bic sure knows how to make leads!

Last comment, if you absolutely want a personalized made in France pencil, you can contact CFC who will put you in touch with a distributor…so technically, a CWPE made in France pencil could be possible…even if it wouldn’t make much sense financially.

Anu Domani
February 19 2018

You’ve said this in a couple of posts, I think, but Spermaceti is not whale sperm. Really, it’s not. It is “a waxy substance found in the head cavities of the sperm whale”1 that was used in the production of candles, soap, cosmetics, lamp oil, etc. in the 18th and 19th century. Its waxy composition would make it a good ingredient for binding graphite in pencils.


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