Mary Norris on Blackwings

Longtime New Yorker proofreader Mary Norris is a pencil enthusiast. She especially loves the elite Blackwing (“Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed”). In a New Yorker essay, she wrote: “Every pencil is a sandwich. All these years, I have been wondering how the lead got inside the pencil. It turns out that pencils are made from slats of corrugated wood about the size of a Hershey bar. The graphite is laid in the grooves, another slat is glued on top, and then the sandwich is sawn into individual strips, which are sanded, painted, fitted with ferrules and erasers, and there you have it: delicious Blackwings.”