What Are Blackwing Pencils and Why Do I Love Them So?

Blackwing pencils regularly appear on our Penny Post gift guides, so I’m sure you have seen them. However, it occurred to me that we have never properly introduced you to the very best pencil you didn’t know you needed.

Originally introduced in the 1930s by Eberhard Faber Pencil Company, Blackwing quickly became a cult favorite among artists, writers, and musicians. John Steinbeck, Leonard Bernstein, and Bugs Bunny creator Chuck Jones all made magic with a Blackwing pencil. The Grapes of Wrath would likely have been written without it, but I like to imagine Steinbeck wielding his Blackwing like a magic wand to create his masterpiece.

Personally, I prefer a pencil over a pen. There’s just something satisfying about the feel and sound of graphite rubbing over paper. And, you can erase. Because who doesn’t make mistakes? Each pencil is made with California genuine incense-cedar and premium Japanese graphite. And, each one has a dust-free eraser that can be replaced once it is worn down.

There are three standard Blackwing pencils, each designed for your personal pencil preference. The Blackwing is the softest of the core line, which makes it perfect for anyone who prefers a soft dark line. With a pearl white finish and a firmer graphite, the Blackwing Pearl is good for those that want to use less pressure when they write. Finally, the Blackwing 602 is the firmest of the three, which delivers on the promise of “Half the pressure, twice the speed.”

So, if a beautiful writing tool with a smooth feel was not enough, let me tell you about the best pencil sharpener ever. Using a special two-step sharpening method, you get a perfectly balanced sharp point. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it is life altering.

Finally, I have to mention Blackwing’s special editions. Quickly becoming collectors’ items, these uniquely designed pencils honor and celebrate cultural icons and events. Every year there are four intensely awaited releases. In the past, special editions have celebrated vinyl records, mathematicians, Surrealism, explorers, baseball players, and singer-songwriters. The most recent release (which you can still get!) heralded this year’s Mars rover landing. Follow us on Instagram and we will introduce each new release as it happens.

On the regular, we have the three core styles in stock – as well as their colored pencils (don’t get me started on those!) – to fulfill all your pencil dreams. Come in today and test write each one to determine which one fits.

P.S. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that a percentage of all Blackwing sales goes to arts and music education. How wonderful is that?!


  • The latest from Amy
Owner Amy Rutherford started Red Barn because she wanted to deliver a service — to provide both old and new in one place. No longer will busy shoppers be limited to reproductions or forced to shop multiple flea markets for the look or gifts they want. The trick in blending old and new, vintage and modern, classic and quirky, is balance. And Amy’s knack for mixing rustic antiques with urban chic has created a look that is both fresh and familiar.

Red Barn Mercantile opened its doors in September 2007 with a single vision in mind: providing old and new to offer our customers signature whole-room designs at great prices.

We’re more than a furniture boutique and provide more personalized service than a big box retailer. We work hard to bring you the highest quality furniture and gifts, the most unique conversation starters, wall hangings and accent pieces, whether they come from off-the-beaten-track flea markets, or the latest designers.


1117 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


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