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DPChallenge Forums >> Individual Photograph Discussion >> there were only be two pencil factories in the USA
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06/10/2007 10:00:30 PM · #1
but now there is only one.

this is a block from my house, and a subject I shoot alot. I have always wanted to work there since I was a kid. There use to be two pencil factories left in america...now there is only one (and a half)

here are pictures...this really breaks my heart...

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for those who don't understand, this is what is left of panda pencil. They were one of the only two remaining pencil factories in america, and today it cought fire and was burned almost to the ground. It's only a block from my house, and after asking around the crowd of people who were witness to the explosion, found that it was caused by two kids who thought it would be fun to spread some grafatti on the walls...got to horsing around and started throwing fire with the spray paint cans and a lighter. First a small bucket of pencil ink cought on fire and instead of calling the fire department, they just ran...by the time the fire department was called the whole wall had cought fire. due to recent cut backs the fire house on our side of the tracks was closed and because of a train comming through the fire trucks didn't make it in time. the fire spread inside the storage garage where it met mineral spirits and after three explosions not much was left.

this was a place very close to my heart, and by the grace of God and it being sunday night no one was inside at the time. I grew up wanting to work there, and now I regret never doing it. I have shot here many times, the building was very unique and very beautiful. It's too early to confirm that story for sure, but that is what the crowd said they saw. there is a pretty rough apparment complex nearby and that is where the crowd was...and that is where the boys were from too.
it's a sad day in the history of our small town.
06/10/2007 10:07:33 PM · #2
Sad part is if i bought a Panda Pencil id figure it was made in china by the damned name.
06/10/2007 10:15:28 PM · #3
I am not familiar with the products...but it is sad that so many hurdles is now probably the demise of a popular product and a unique building. The children will probably never receive the correct punishment for such a crime...but instead the innocent owners, workers, public will feel the consequences of their actions.
06/10/2007 10:23:31 PM · #4
Originally posted by RainMotorsports:

Sad part is if i bought a Panda Pencil id figure it was made in china by the damned name.


they only made golf pencils, and you would know it. they were famous world round for useing only a certin wood. I think it was ceder, it did smell very wonderful. I have a box, i walked down there when I was 16 and bought it stright from the owner himself, he is a very nice guy and only lives right across the tracks.

it's just a sad day for our town.
06/10/2007 10:30:26 PM · #5
Think he'll rebuild?
06/10/2007 10:37:16 PM · #6
Originally posted by gi_joe05:

Originally posted by RainMotorsports:

Sad part is if i bought a Panda Pencil id figure it was made in china by the damned name.


they only made golf pencils, and you would know it. they were famous world round for useing only a certin wood. I think it was ceder, it did smell very wonderful. I have a box, i walked down there when I was 16 and bought it stright from the owner himself, he is a very nice guy and only lives right across the tracks.

it's just a sad day for our town.


Oh just golf pencils? I wonder who makes all those Made in the usa cheapo's i had in middle school?
06/10/2007 10:38:08 PM · #7
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

Think he'll rebuild?


well, I think so. I don't think that this town would let him not rebuild it. He is a major name in the local politics and everyone knows the guy. I think he will rebuild it. When we left, the main parts of the factory looked like they were still standing, though on the inside may have been destroyed. We left because we were told that the hasmat just got there and that the fumes from the fire were toxic. Both of us are having some chest pain problems, and I'm allergic to mineral spirits which is what is belived to have caused the explosion.
06/10/2007 10:39:28 PM · #8
Not to mention the lead in the air.
06/10/2007 10:41:39 PM · #9
Originally posted by RainMotorsports:

Not to mention the lead in the air.


:-P I think it's probably graphite
06/10/2007 10:44:18 PM · #10
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

Originally posted by RainMotorsports:

Not to mention the lead in the air.


:-P I think it's probably graphite


Oh do they use graphite in pencils, wtf ever happend to a No. 2 Lead Pencil?
06/10/2007 10:45:21 PM · #11
I too was curious as to where all the pencils come from...
I have a DIXON ORIOLE pencil sitting in front of me that says made in USA, and also 'papermate' pencil made in USA.

I however am not finding where they are made or names of companies other than 'General Pencil Company' in Redwood CA.

About 'your' pencil company, it is always sad to see something you've known since you were a kid be destroyed. Very sad news, I hope he'll rebuild.
06/10/2007 10:49:44 PM · #12
First congrats on two good photojournalism photo's.

Now for the sad part. It's a shame that a locally owned and operated business has been lost (history and building). I hope he rebuilds and continues production of his product.

Message edited by author 2007-06-10 22:49:55.
06/10/2007 11:12:51 PM · #13
Originally posted by HBunch:

I too was curious as to where all the pencils come from...
I have a DIXON ORIOLE pencil sitting in front of me that says made in USA, and also 'papermate' pencil made in USA.

I however am not finding where they are made or names of companies other than 'General Pencil Company' in Redwood CA.

About 'your' pencil company, it is always sad to see something you've known since you were a kid be destroyed. Very sad news, I hope he'll rebuild.


that is the other one, I think you may be able to find them. they are a huge company. Panda is small, they only had maybe 50 employees and were on the side of the tracks that no one goes to unless you live over here. if you golf much you would find their pencils, but other then that I don't think they made them

I did have a friend who's mom worked there when I was a kid though, and she made me a box of pencils that said my name on them in green letters. they were golf pencils but I used them like crazy. Math homework is just more fun when you get to use "your" pencil.
06/10/2007 11:14:29 PM · #14
Originally posted by swhiddon:

First congrats on two good photojournalism photo's.


I almost got arrested for getting to close, but in the end all is well. I sent those to the news people around here. hoping to hear from them tonight.
06/11/2007 11:03:29 AM · #15
bump for the day crowd

06/11/2007 01:38:58 PM · #16
Originally posted by RainMotorsports:

Oh do they use graphite in pencils, wtf ever happend to a No. 2 Lead Pencil?


They haven't used lead in pencils since before we were born. (Like, a couple hundred years before...)
06/11/2007 02:17:20 PM · #17
From the realm of historic interest and pencil factories...

The great American industrialist, Armand Hammer, trained as a physician, put together a medical team and went to Russia in the late teens of the last century to provide much needed medical care after the 1917 revolution. He did it because he had 6 months between the time of his graduation from medical school and the beginning of his residency at, I believe, Boston General Hospital and had nothing better to do. He never started his residency program.

Instead... after meeting with Lenin, Russia's greatest leader of the last century, and seeing the impoverished condition of the country under the czars Hammer decided not only to provide medical teams pro bono but also to pursue capitalistic ventures in support of Lenin after the last Czar of Russia had been deposed.

Building Russia's first pencil factory was his most successful business venture inside Russia and impressed Lenin. Hammer made a fortune in the US selling czarist trinkets in American department stores. In Russia they were considered hated symbols of Czarist Russia. Hammer started many other business ventures there. Russia would have become capitalist under Lenin because of Hammer's influence except Stalin deposed him and Hammer was forced to leave.

Armand Hammer is the only American really respected in the old Soviet Union, primarily because he'd met and was liked by Lenin. Ironically, because of Stalin the first joint venture Hammer had with the Soviet Union was many decades later during the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. Within days Hammer worked out an arrangement with the Soviet government to send, at his own expense, a medical team from UCLA to Russia to treat those exposed to nuclear radiation, primarily fire fighters. Unfortunately it was to late, the fire fighters had already absorbed lethal does.

Both his pencil factory and Chernobyl medical team ultimately failed their intended purposes. But what is important is that he tried and down the road that made all the difference in the world.
06/11/2007 02:25:06 PM · #18
Mirando Black Warrior #2 pencil
Made in Lewisburg, Tennessee, United States by the Sanford Corporation.

Originally posted by gi_joe05:

Originally posted by HBunch:

I too was curious as to where all the pencils come from...
I have a DIXON ORIOLE pencil sitting in front of me that says made in USA, and also 'papermate' pencil made in USA.

I however am not finding where they are made or names of companies other than 'General Pencil Company' in Redwood CA.

About 'your' pencil company, it is always sad to see something you've known since you were a kid be destroyed. Very sad news, I hope he'll rebuild.


that is the other one, I think you may be able to find them. they are a huge company. Panda is small, they only had maybe 50 employees and were on the side of the tracks that no one goes to unless you live over here. if you golf much you would find their pencils, but other then that I don't think they made them

I did have a friend who's mom worked there when I was a kid though, and she made me a box of pencils that said my name on them in green letters. they were golf pencils but I used them like crazy. Math homework is just more fun when you get to use "your" pencil.
06/11/2007 02:26:07 PM · #19
Originally posted by stdavidson:

From the realm of historic interest and pencil factories...

The great American industrialist, Armand Hammer, trained as a physician, put together a medical team and went to Russia in the late teens of the last century to provide much needed medical care after the 1917 revolution. He did it because he had 6 months between the time of his graduation from medical school and the beginning of his residency at, I believe, Boston General Hospital and had nothing better to do. He never started his residency program.

Instead... after meeting with Lenin, Russia's greatest leader of the last century, and seeing the impoverished condition of the country under the czars Hammer decided not only to provide medical teams pro bono but also to pursue capitalistic ventures in support of Lenin after the last Czar of Russia had been deposed.

Building Russia's first pencil factory was his most successful business venture inside Russia and impressed Lenin. Hammer made a fortune in the US selling czarist trinkets in American department stores. In Russia they were considered hated symbols of Czarist Russia. Hammer started many other business ventures there. Russia would have become capitalist under Lenin because of Hammer's influence except Stalin deposed him and Hammer was forced to leave.

Armand Hammer is the only American really respected in the old Soviet Union, primarily because he'd met and was liked by Lenin. Ironically, because of Stalin the first joint venture Hammer had with the Soviet Union was many decades later during the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. Within days Hammer worked out an arrangement with the Soviet government to send, at his own expense, a medical team from UCLA to Russia to treat those exposed to nuclear radiation, primarily fire fighters. Unfortunately it was to late, the fire fighters had already absorbed lethal does.

Both his pencil factory and Chernobyl medical team ultimately failed their intended purposes. But what is important is that he tried and down the road that made all the difference in the world.


Didn't he invent baking soda, too?

Message edited by author 2007-06-11 14:26:46.
06/11/2007 02:28:39 PM · #20
Originally posted by nards656:

Didn't he invent baking soda, too?


Baking Soda is just a mineral. He may have productized it.
06/11/2007 02:29:09 PM · #21
Maybe it's time to revisit the Pencil Challenge.
06/11/2007 02:29:12 PM · #22
Originally posted by chimericvisions:

Originally posted by nards656:

Didn't he invent baking soda, too?


Baking Soda is just a mineral. He may have productized it.


That was a joke, I promise. :)
06/11/2007 02:50:12 PM · #23
I am not so sure your facts are correct in stating only 2 pencil companies in USA. I believe the correct fact is "Among US pencil manufacturers just two company’s with production history pre-dating 1920 still trace current ownership to descendants of company founders."

US Pencil manufacturers:
Dixon Ticonderoga

General Pencil

Musgrave Pencil

California Cedar Products

Newell - acquired three top U.S. pencil and art goods companies: Sanford Corporation, Faber-Castell Corporation, and Empire-Berol Corporation. All three were integrated into Newell's Sanford division, which also includes the art materials brand M. Grumbacher.

Binney & Smith of Easton, Pennsylvania, the maker of Crayola crayons and a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards

There are also many more that are listed more as cosmetics pencil manufacturers even though they manufacturer general purpose pencils as well as well as specialty pencil manufacturers for specific working environments. There is also an Indian tribe - Blackfeet if I remember correctly from the box they come in - that manufactures an excellent pencil.

Message edited by author 2007-06-11 14:56:34.
06/11/2007 02:52:32 PM · #24
ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda Cleans
The Statue of Liberty!


In celebration of its 100th anniversary on July 4, 1986, the Statue of Liberty's inner copper walls were cleaned with ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda, removing 99 years of coal tar without damaging the copper. More than 100 tons of sodium bicarbonate was used in the restoration.
06/11/2007 02:56:26 PM · #25
Originally posted by CEJ:

US Pencil manufacturers:
Dixon Ticonderoga ...

So these Mongols really are foreign invaders?!
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