Monday, June 24, 2013

What Has Happened to the Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils?

My gosh.

What is the world coming to?

Crappy pencils aggravate the daylights out of me.  I get tired of kids churning away at the pencil sharpener until they've eaten away at least half a pencil in order to get a decent, sharp point.  Makes me nuts.  A lot of the "cutsey" pencils (and gosh, I'm so done with cute) are absolute junk, made out of recycled paper and wood and won't even last a day.  They are useless.

So, for years, I've bought Dixon Ticonderoga pencils for my students to use on The Very Big Government Mandated Tests, and for Other Important Things that require a #2 pencil.  (For birthdays I give out mechanical pencils although most teachers, as a rule, don't like middle school kids having them - kids have been known to use them to fire straightened out staples at each other with them.)

This year I came to the dreadful conclusion that the Dixon Ticonderoga pencils have obviously changed something because they are, sad to say, just about as crappy as all the rest.

I brought home a big box from school to use in my summer camp and my suspicions were confirmed. They aren't what they used to be.  I would sharpen to a point, only to have a piece of lead you can pull out of the pencil.  Back to the sharpener.  Again, when it was sharpened, all you had to do was tug on the lead and out it would come.  You can even tell when the lead is like this as it seems to almost "bulge" slightly at the point where the lead and wood should connect.

I ended up throwing away about half a dozen pencils.

This is ridiculous.

Whomever changed things over at Dixon, do something!  You've screwed up the best pencil ever.  Now it's just junk, like all the rest.


Robynbeth said...

The quality of most products are now poorly constructed with cheap materials. I hate to sound like my granny, but "it ain't like it use to be."

In my kitchen, I have a fan from 1955. It is a solid piece of craftsmanship, and it works perfectly. The new fan from Mart of Wal quit working within hours.

Carmen said...

Ugh, bad pencils annoy me so much! My kindergartners would go through twice as many "cutesy" pencils as a regular yellow one, like the Dixons. You can see the obvious difference in the way they're made. Maybe you just got a bad batch?

angie said...

Nope. I use the same brand of pencils and the leads fall out all the time!Ticonderoga used to be such a good brand.

Elaine said...

Can't help with the pencils, but I have to say that I've developed a serious hate for pencil sharpeners. The grindy sounds set my teeth on edge.

I've started adding handheld cheap pencil sharpeners to my materials list, and every year I pick up a cheap batch from walmart. (Because at 30c each, if they last only a few months, I'm still ahead of the game vs. the Boston attach-to-the-wall ones.)

Unknown said...

I am also always after the best pencil. Lately I've been using the Papermate Mirado Black Warrior. They are more expensive, so you'll want o use them after the eraser disappears. So...pencil cap erasers- I use the white ones used for drafting. They fit tightly and erase very well. I found them at Hobby Lobby with drafting supplies.

fillyjonk said...

I just threw several in the trash because the leads kept breaking. I'm doing research and I don't have time to stop every 2 minutes and sharpen a darn pencil! So I'm with you: Dixon, what on earth did you do to make these pencils (which used to be so good) so awful?

Unknown said...

Glad I'm not the only one who thought so. I've always used a ticonderoga if I can, as any other soft pencil which doesn't keep its point, or has a hard eraser which leaves marks/tears my page (or too soft erasers which fall off altogether) just frustrate me.

But I find myself having to constantly make trips back to the sharpener with these latest ticonderoga pencils. And this may just be me, but something just feels different when I hold the pencil.

I found what I'm pretty sure is an older one, and have compared them (to the point of measuring their circumference and each segment of the hexagon [2mm]...clearly I'm a little OCD about my pencils haha.)
My best guess is that maybe the angles of the hexagon segments are larger angles, making the pencill feel ever so slightly rounder.
The biggest difference would be that the wood of new one is brighter (after sharpening both, so the wood is fresh and not stained from the graphite.)

Okay, I probably went way more into that than anyone cared, haha.

Unknown said...

Did anyone ever contact Dixon to find out what's up?

These pencils are always on the teachers list for parents to buy.

Also, what's the difference between Dixon no. 2 and Dixon Ticonderoga?

Unknown said...

I just googled "what happened to Dixon Ticonderoga" upon hearing my daughter complain, "this pencil is SO bad…I am just going to use a pen instead"--and I found your blog! I am glad we are not the only ones who have noticed the change and expressed their disappointment. I bought a large pack of these pencils at Walmart. We still had some of the old Ticonderoga's laying around, so we just began using the "new and cheapened" model this school year. Very disappointing. I went to Dixon Ticonderoga's website and left a comment under the CEO blog (since there was no other way to leave a comment). I also included a link to your blog in the hopes the powers that be would see they are losing business over this decision to produce an inferior product.

Unknown said...

I too found this from Googling my frustrations! Anyone found anything out yet??

changed777 said...

I can only imagine your frustration, teachers! I am a sub and the pencils drove me crazy yesterday(and to this search for good pencils). An entire two thirds of my first grade math lesson was spent TRYING to sharpen pencils! The poor kids were trying to write with pencils that had almost all wood at the tips, or were hollow. I had to go to the sharpener myself to help. EVERY KID in the class got in line. It was horrible. I am on a search for the BEST pencils...I don't care how much they cost... And I am going to bring them in for the whole class to use when I am there.😊

Lal said...

I've noticed that the erasers break off more easily. Often I will have just started to use a brand-new Ticonderoga Dixon pencil the eraser will break off. It's like you have to hold it as certain way and very softly or the eraser will just come off.
I haven't noticed the drop off in the overall quality of the pencil but it is believable now that I think about it.

Unknown said...

I used to teach 2nd grade. While I was cleaning out my basement, I found some old pencils still in boxes from 2004. After struggling to get a brand new pencil to sharpen correctly, I thought I'd give it a try and see if my old pencils were any good. They always worked really well back in 2004. The old pencil sharpened wonderfully! The tip sharpened evenly around with a smooth surface, no roughness from the wood. And the eraser is better too. When I took a closer look. I did notice that the new pencil is a tiny bit bigger around and the wood looks to be a combination of different colors unlike the old pencil had one uniform color of wood. And the box that the old pencil came in says "real" wood while the new box says "premium" wood. In other words, not real wood.