Two new pencils from Blackwing! An exciting day for us.

The purple and yellow-starred Volume XIX is The Voting Pencil, the latest Volume to be released. With the US election coming up, it’s a tribute to the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing American women the right to vote. In these times, voting is becoming increasingly important, and the fight for voting rights and education continues at home and around the world.

I’m not US history buff, although I’m trying my best to pay attention, so I thought I’d also include what’s on the box:

On August 18th, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment. After nearly a century of lobbying, marching, and protesting, it was finally illegal to deny anyone the right to vote on the basis of sex. This was a massive step forward for equal voting rights in the US, but it was not without its flaws.

Some members of the suffrage movement had sought to exclude Black women from the protection of the Amendment. And even after the 19th Amendment passed, the voting rights of Black, Indigenous, Asian, and Latinx Americans continued to be repressed, often violently. Although the Voting Rights Act of 1965 aimed to eliminate these practices, gerrymandering and other voter suppression techniques continue to threaten all Americans’ right to the elective franchise.

The Blackwing XIX is our tribute to the 19th Amendment and the ongoing fight for voting rights in the United States and around the world. It features a purple barrel and three-sided white and golden yellow imprint inspired by the suffrage flag, striped silver ferrule, and purple eraser. The 36 yellow stars represent the 36 states that ratified the amendment. The firm graphite is perfect for writing a letter to your Representatives or making your voting plan.

I think it’s terrific that Blackwing is paying attention the world around it, and is using its presence and influence in its own way. The pencil itself is object that represents so much: learning and education, freedom of speech, ideas, creativity, communication and language. Filling in bubbles, whether it’s on an exam in college, or on a ballot.


And possibly even more exciting, the Blackwing Eras pencil, not part of the Volumes releases, arrived.

This pencil is a celebration of ten years since the revival of the Blackwing pencil. It’s a beauty. I’ve been excited for this pencil since we first heard about it. They’ve taken their time to make their way all the way to us up here in Canada, but worth the wait.

The graphite is extra-firm, and I love the look of the gold stripe on the ferrule, the red eraser. Inspired by the classic, with so much of its look.

There’s nothing like sharpening a fresh new pencil for a new project, or a new entry in a journal. The luxury of a box of Blackwings! Two! I share with the kids and try not to mind too much when I see one being used as a stick or a found under a bed, because every once in a while I’ll find a map or a row of crooked circles or misspelled instructions on building some sort of a machine. All of the magic and potential inside a pencil.

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September 24, 2020 — wonderpens



wonderpens said:

Thanks for the reminder!

Kevin Love

Kevin Love said:

Each state in the USA sets its own voting rules. Hence the Jim Crow struggle for voting rights in the southern states. Where I live in Texas it is not only legal but recommended to fill out ballots with a #2 pencil.


mark said:

just friendly a reminder….. you cannot use pencil to fill out your ballot in the US


Jen said:

Are these pencils more firm than the “Natural” variety? Which type is most comparable to an H, would you say?
I haven’t tried either one but would like to.


wonderpens said:

The Eras have the same graphite as the Natural (both the “extra-firm) and the Volume XIX is firm (like the 602s). The Eras/Naturals would be most comparable to an H, although I do think they would be a bit softer than other brands’ H graphites.

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