Blackwing: The Fountain Pen of Pencils

Before discovering the world of fountain pens, I was simply unaware of how smooth pen-to-page could be. Blackwing pencils produce a similar reaction: who knew a pencil could skate across the page so nicely?

I’ve had the pleasure of testing out the Blackwing 24, designed in tribute to writer John Steinbeck:

The Blackwing 24 pays tribute to Pulitzer Prize winning author John Steinbeck. Designed under the guidance of his son, accomplished author Thomas Steinbeck, we’ve attempted to create what would have been John Steinbeck’s ideal pencil.

Thom was adamant that his father would want it to be black, from barrel to eraser. It would also need to sharpen to a firm point without sacrificing much, if any, darkness. The Blackwing 24 is just that – an all-black pencil with a brand new graphite formulation perfect for extended writing.

The story behind the pencil is pretty interesting (read it here).

It’s easy to see this as much ado about just a pencil, but these writing implements are quite nice. They come 12 to a box. Here’s a look.




The all-black look is pretty striking.




Here it is, sharpened and sunbathing:


What feels like a tiny eraser took some getting used to, but you can replace the eraser if need be. And the look is more distinguished than your typical No. 2 pencil and eraser.

The Blackwing 24 sharpens easily, retains its point well, and feels great on the page. (It also erases well.) I’m not pencil expert enough to have better language for it than to say: this thing really glides. After going back to my Bic mechanical pencils (which I’ve used for ages), I notice the regular old pencil meets with resistance on the page. Sure, I would’ve been fine using Bics the rest of my life, but, as the product page claims, this is a writer’s pencil. Marking up a book or sketching out ideas with it is enjoyable. The “new extra-firm graphite” puts words to page in a way that won’t rub off any time soon.

And my kids love them.






At the time of writing this post the Blackwing 24 is out of stock, but there are more pencils (equally excellent, I’m sure) here. You may consider jumping on the beautiful, just-released Blackwing 344, which will likely also sell out soon.





Many thanks to the kind folks at Blackwing for sending a package of the Blackwing 24 for the purposes of this review–though receiving the product sample did not influence the objectivity of my review.


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