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     The Palomino Blackwings, Part II
    Engineering: Things that are built
    Now that I have them (See previous Group29 article The Palomino Blackwings) I have been using the Palomino Blackwing, in preference to the Palomino Blackwing 602. I really like how smoothly it writes and draws. I have wondered about how the particular formula came to be selected. It seems the original Blackwing 602 from Eberhard-Faber was a favorite of copywriters, authors, and musicians. At 50 cents each, they were quite expensive for the ordinary consumer, nearly 5 to ten times as much as an ordinary pencil. Today, they would probably cost $2 or more because of the distinctive eraser ferrule.

    This is all speculation, but California Republic seems to be shooting for that price point. If they studied their user base, it seems that they had called for a soft, fast-writing lead in a lightweight wooden pencil that would be easy to manipulate, more easy than a mechanical pencil. Also it seems that if they had test driven different lead formulas, the users probably picked the formula for the Blackwing in a blind test. Users must have believed that the Blackwing 602 had to feel and write like the Palomino Blackwing. But it is kind of like tinkering with the Coca-Cola formula. Yes, that is the pencil they wanted, but do not call it a Blackwing. So California republic tinkered with the formula and design and released the Palomino Blackwing 602. This pretty closely matches the original Eberhard-Faber Blackwing 602, and probably will win lots of converts. As one who never used the Blackwing before, as it was a grownup pencil and much too expensive for a school kid to be using, I might be immune to the mystique. Yet, I still really like these pencils. I have returned to drawing with a gusto I have not enjoyed in decades. The Palomino Blackwing is a huge success in my book and a very nice writing instrument. It writes smoothly, I daresay more smoothly than the Palomino Blackwing 602.

    I am very much looking forward to giving these as Christmas gifts and telling people to stop buying poor quality pencils. At the very least, parents should be buying Dixon Ticonderoga pencils. I realize, it is very nice to be able to plunk down 19 cents on the Wal-mart loss leader pencil pack. All the big retailers are doing this and dumping these pencils. So it might seem hard to justify spending a dollar a pencil. The teachers at school have bins with hundreds of these pencils, but they burn through them and no one cares about pencils because they can just get another. School pencils these days are throwaway items. But they have performed like throwaway items, which ultimately was my problem with them. It might make your child very upset when he or she loses one of these nice pencils by carelessly leaving it behind and having it picked up by another who covets it.
    Posted on Saturday, September 24, 2011 @ 18:08:05 UTC by BB
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