I wish I knew more about the Blaisdell Pencil Company. They are perhaps best known for their paper-wrapped pencils, which are commonly referred to as China Markers. But Blaisdell made many other kinds of pencils too, including the Calculator.
Along with Eberhard Faber’s Mongol and Blackwing, the Calculator was part of John Steinbeck’s toolbox. Apart from that mention I haven’t heard much about this pencil, including what its target audience might have been.
Because it is so dark and smooth, I assume it was favored by writers and editors. But how does the name Calculator factor-in? Is it an allusion to the sciences? This leads me to wonder what kinds of pencils mathematicians and scientists may have preferred, if any. I would think something that resists smudging (i.e. harder grades, F and higher) would have been preferred, but that’s just a guess.
The Calculator is another one of those singular pencils that has disappeared altogether, and I only came across one by chance. Given 150 years of American pencil-making and the countless types of pencils made during that time, just imagine what other gems (that we’ll never know about) have silently come and gone.