Not so, if you ask Count Anton Wolfgang von Faber-Castell of his eponymous pencil empire. The Wall Street Journal‘s Cynthia King had a few questions for him, such as if the pencil will “go the way of the quill pen.” Faber-Castell responded: “May I ask you a question? Have you ever seen a paperless office? People may not be writing things out on legal pads but they like to print out email and make notations. Then pencils and pens disappear and you go grab another. People think they’re allowed to steal pencils. I don’t know if they are allowed but they do it. ”
In addition, he pointed out,
When you are young, you put a pencil in a drawer. Then when you get to be very, very old, 100, and you want to give something of yours to your great, great grandchild, you pull that pencil out and it still writes. Can a pen do that?
As for “the best pencil”:
The Perfect Pencil is my favorite. It’s a beautifully designed object, handmade of cedar with a platinum-plated cap that protects the point and holds a hidden pencil sharpener. Underneath the end piece is an eraser.
It’s a great little interview—where does “Mongol” come from on the pencil label, and how did we end up with hexagonal and now even triangular pencils? What about the No. 2B?
As my colleague Jonathan V. Last marveled, it’s amazing how little we pay for something so well designed. (Of course that “Perfect Pencil” Faber-Castell cites can run about $395.)