Wednesday, September 15, 2010

it started with a pencil

We all know that we could not live without the cutting edge mapping, drafting and modeling technology we use everyday to design and construct our spaces and places. But I think most of us would agree at some point in the design phase the humble pencil and or pen appear from a nearby desktop or container of some sort and play a vital role in the design process of our chosen creative form. So while I was combing the world wide web pursuing my favorite writing instruments I came across this digital museum curated by Dennis B. Smith. See below for images from Vintage Drafting Pencil Advertisements.

ad concept and final piece by Barry Jones circa 1990

>ad type: magazine advertisement: Architectural Record
publication date: 1939 August
market: USA

ad type: magazine advertisement: Architectural Record
publication date: 1940 August
market: USA

ad type: magazine ad
publication date: 1960
market: France

ad type: newspaper advertisement from The Tech, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Student Newspaper
publication date: 1957 September 24
market: USA

ad type: miniature brochure (included in box with TK 9400 leadholder)
publication date: circa 1950s
market: Germany

ad type: leaflet
publication date: circa 1940s
market: USA

all images via curator Brian B Smith@LEADHOLDER


  1. Amazing! We may not believe it but some of the great things around us actually started with humble beginnings. With patience and perseverance, success may be achieved.

  2. there is a great site: for pencil obsessives. I found it when I was looking up the RCAF tartan and found it had been designed using a black, a red and and a blue pencil. Remembered seeing a half blue/half red pencil once, a thousand years ago, and found out about them on this site.
    About the pencil ads, I miss the craft of a good graphite line, the rolling of the lead, the slight pressure at the corners, the disappearance of the line in the middle of a long stretch. There is such an elegance about hand drafting.
    The ads all tell you where the pencil will take your ideas, even the French one, but for so many of the pencil users, a bit more realistic probably in their ambitions, it was literally about the lead on the vellum.

  3. So cool! This post made me think back to when I first started my landscape business and all our designs were hand rendered, make one mistake and you'd have to start all over......kinda glad those days are over. Just to think now every design I provide my clients is computer generated