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Even to an ardent pencil user like myself, stories about the Blackwing 602 seemed too good to be true. Searching around online, there was little information to be found except that they were no longer being made, and that some well-known people really liked them. Even so, it seemed like there was more to the story than just pencils.
I saw a few Blackwings for the first time in 2007, and by chance each one had a slightly different imprint. That’s not so unusual by and large, but it can be an indicator that a pencil brand has been around for a while. In other words, the Blackwing had a history, too. My short-term goal was to put the different Blackwings in chronological order—something that has now become a long-term goal. Searching for explanations led to other discoveries, which I began posting on a blog prior to this one. Eventually I decided to keep just those pages concerning the Blackwing, and they became the basis for “The Blackwing Pages” in June of 2010.
Researching and documenting the Blackwing’s history has taken on new meaning in light of recent events. Capitalizing on the lapsed “Blackwing” trademark, two attempts were made to copy and market a pencil with the name “Blackwing”, the first meeting with considerable criticism. I have no vested interest in the success or failure of the new products, but like others, became concerned about an increasingly distorted narrative being told by way of some wildly inaccurate ad campaigns, amplified by the appropriation of research and original materials from this site.
Ultimately, my goal remains to document as much of the Blackwing’s history as possible. And while this blog focuses on only one pencil, it’s really a paean to all wood-cased pencils. In that sense, the Blackwing 602 represents any small and well-made item that was once adored but is now no longer made—something special you thought was “the best”, and knew there would never be another like it—even if it was just a pencil.
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