I’m not sure what it was, but today I was reminded of the reaction a good friend of mine had when she first tried a Blackwing 602, and in particular, what she said. Writing on Clairefontaine music paper (which is the same stock as their Triomphe line), she immediately paused after the first letter, incredulously examining the tip of the pencil—as if what she was feeling didn’t correspond with what she was seeing. She resumed writing and as she did, said: “It’s like it’s writing before I do.”

I’ve wondered since then if the expression “It Writes Before You Do” couldn’t have been a nice slogan for a smooth-writing pencil, in a mid-20th century kind of way.

(Is it just me, or does this photo have a slight optical illusion, as if it has rotated slightly clockwise? It seems more pronounced if you tilt your head to the left.)