To round out the first year of the Blackwing Volumes program, Blackwing wanted to pay tribute to one of our personal heroes, John Steinbeck.
When asked about its design, Thom was adamant that his father would want it to be black, from barrel to eraser. “My father despised yellow pencils,” Thom said. “It would be black. The whole thing. Top to bottom.” In an effort to avoid distraction, John Steinbeck chose pencils that were dark in color and, therefore, less eye-catching. Thom went on to describe the ideal graphite as “the hardest point you can find that still maintains some darkness.” “My father’s pencils had a firm, sharp point,” noted Thom. “They were surgically sharp. You could dissect a mouse [with his pencils].”
John Steinbeck saw sharpening as another unnecessary, and unacceptable distraction. So every day, before putting graphite to paper, he would sharpen 24 pencils and place them point up in the first of two identical wood boxes.
The Blackwing 24 features a new extra-firm graphite great for extended writing. You won’t find this graphite in any of our other Blackwing models. It’s slightly firmer than the graphite found in the Blackwing 602, without sacrificing much in the way of darkness. It also features a distraction-free black barrel, black imprint, black ferrule and black eraser.
You can even “hack” your eraser with replacement erasers available in white, black and the traditional pink. Much of what makes a pencil good is a combination of the pressure of your hand and the way the lead interacts with the surface of the paper. The Blackwing s well-rounded and gets along with all sorts of paper from printer paper to college-ruled notebooks, graph paper and the pages of your calendar.