As you may know, I’m an old friend of mine who’s a retired Air Force and US Coast Guard officer. He used to carry around a large, heavy, plastic, one-year old Army green pencil in his pocket in a white paper tube. At a time when people are buying a pencil for the first time, and it’s hard to judge what their expectations are in respect to color and shape of the end user experience, I always like using a light to check whether we found a good match. (A light is just like a fine, even, fine, regular graphite pencil.) So I always get a light-fast, one year old Army green pencil in my pocket.
Why not just buy a pencil with a similar size?
The Navy was the first to provide one of these, and as such, they have the oldest pencil. It has a long history; it was the pencil that was used for the first test flown balloon landing during World War II. When the pencil was introduced in 1945, it had a size that was very similar to a pencil that comes in the USA. The Navy gave it to the first officers that went to the Pacific, and it was the pencil that was used to write the word “Aurora” on a piece of paper that was left behind on their ship.
What is the difference between this pencil and a regular pencil?
The Army Green one (the original model, and also the one most recently made) is a lighter weight, finer-grained pencil that has a smooth pencil finish. The pencils made since the 1950’s (since I first learned of the Army Green pencils) have a smooth, fine-grained plastic, but they are not as soft and flexible as the Army Green one.
If I had a pencil that was like the one in my pocket, and I needed a pencil that would be just right for me, I would know what to do. I’d know what to buy, where to get it, and what sort of colors to match. But the Army Green pencil is not that size, that fine; it’s a thin, fine, light weight pencil that, in my experience, is hard to use.
Is there a point in the world where I would need a larger ballpoint?
In the book on a small pencil, I found these very nice pencils that are marketed as larger than you think but smaller than really need a big ballpoint:
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