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Updated May 2003
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See also: Pencil Humor -- Pencil FAQ

What is a Pencil Lengthener? Read this article.
LEFT-HANDED PENCILS - do they exist?
This has been a subject of discussion among some of the contributors to these pages. The question is not really "Do they exist?" but rather "Are they deliberately made as 'left-handed' pencils?" Thus far, the only documentation I have encountered in favor of the legitimacy of left-handed pencils comes from literature I received from The Dixon Ticonderoga Company. On a page of pencil trivia facts is the following:

"Is there such a thing as a left-handed pencil? The only difference between a left-handed pencil and a right-handed pencil is the orientation of the printing. On a right-handed pencil (standard) the imprint reads from the point to the eraser end of the pencil."

While this does not directly answer the question, it does indicate that at least one manufacturer recognizes the existence of left-handed pencils. Also, in a reprint of a Dixon Ticonderoga advertisement is depicted a left-handed Ticonderoga pencil - though I have never seen one.

Can anyone out there in the industry shed more light on this subject? - DM

Janis Barlow says her company, High Voltage PrintWorks, imprints left-handed pencils upon request.

Marina Welham, editor of Amateur's Digest, a plant growers hobby publication, writes:
"... One of the major problems in our hobby is control of mealy bugs on our plants. One of our subscribers was told by a friend that to eliminate mealy bugs on plants he should buy an 'unpainted' pencil, insert it into the soil in the pot and the bugs would be eradicated.
He did that. Every bug was destroyed."

Marina then asks why this is so. I speculated that the cedar was somehow unpleasant to the bugs (ie. cedar closet style). If anyone knows more about this phenomenon, let us know.
Marina Welham also said that plant growers mark their plant labels with pencil because it is one marking that won't fade in sunlight.
I've heard that NASA spent millions for research to develop a writing instrument that would function in the zero-gravity of space. And I heard that the Russians just used pencils!

The above story is not true!!! I have learned that the Fisher Pen Company developed the Space Pen on its own initiative using its own funds. Until 1968, both Americans and Russians used only pencils, but since then have used the Fisher Space Pen. Read the whole story....

Ever hear of a Matrix Pencil? Dan Diebolt explains...

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