The Ultimate Guide to Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils

This Ultimate Guide to Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils includes how they are made, the type of wood is used, what the different types of pencils are, and much more.

Dixon Ticonderoga is one of the oldest and the largest pencil manufacturers in the USA. They dominate the U.S pencil-making industry producing over 2.5 billion pencils a year. The company’s corporate headquarters are in Florida and its main center of operation is a distribution center at Macon in Georgia. Dixon Ticonderoga is famous for its classic yellow #2 pencils, which were first made in 1913.

1. When was Dixon Ticonderoga Founded?

Joseph Dixon founded the Dixon Crucible Company in 1827 and was the inventor of the original Dixon Pencils. The Joseph Dixon Crucible Company was bought in 1983 by Bryn Mawr, a real estate development and recreational-vehicle concern. The two companies merged to form The Dixon Ticonderoga Company.

In 2005 they were bought by Fila, an Italian manufacturer of art materials, but they have retained the company name of Dixon Ticonderoga.

2. Are Dixon and Ticonderoga Pencils the Same?

Dixon and Ticonderoga pencils are both manufactured by the same company, which is called Dixon Ticonderoga. Ticonderoga is the brand name of their premium pencils made from high-quality cedar wood.

For the other pencils they make they drop the Ticonderoga brand name and just call them Dixon and the pencils name. For example, the Dixon Oriole Pencil or the Dixon Carpenters Pencil.

3. Where are Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils Made?

Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils were made in the USA until the early 2000s, but now nearly all of their pencils are made in China and Mexico.

4. What Type of Wood are Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils Made From?

Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils are premium quality pencils made from 100% American incense cedar wood sourced from sustainable forests.

They also make a cheaper pencil called the Dixon Oriole, which is made of jelutong wood which they claim to be made from sustained yield wood from Indonesia forests.

5. How are Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils Made?

Dixon Ticonderoga pencils are made by gluing graphite cores into slotted wooden blocks, which are then joined and shaped into pencils.

How Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils are Made

Step 1

Dixon Ticonderoga uses high-quality Californian incense-cedar wood from sustainably managed forests to make their pencils. The wood I first cut into rectangular-shaped blocks and then further cut down into thinner slats.

Step 2

A series of evenly spaced grooves are then cut into the grooves using special wood cutting equipment. This series of grooves will hold the pencil’s graphite core which is commonly referred to as lead, even though there is no lead in a pencil.

Step 3

A graphite core is then glued into each of the individual grooves. The glue is applied along the entire length of the groove, and this process is known as bonding. You will often see bonded lead in a pencil’s description, which is what it means it gives added strength to the graphite core, giving it a high break resistance. See Why do Pencil Leads Break for More Information.

Step 4

Next, glue is applied to another slat with grooves that are perfectly aligned to the first slat, and it is firmly pressed against it so that the graphite is now fully encased in wood.

Step 5

Once the glue has thoroughly dried so that both slats are fully bonded to each other and the graphite core. It is then trimmed down to the exact length of the pencil.

Step 6

Now that the wood-cased graphite block is the correct length cutting knives are used on both sides of the block are used to form the shape of the pencil. Each block makes 10 pencils.

Step 7

The 1o pencils are now cut from the block and the final shaping and sanding are done in preparation for the paint to be applied.

Step 8

Dixon Ticonderoga pencils use a painting process that involves a specially formulated yellow paint which is applied several times to give the pencil a super smooth lacquered finish.

The raw pencils move through a painting process that adds many coats of mirror-smooth specially formulated Ticonderoga yellow lacquer.

Green foil is then imprinted into the pencil with The Dixon Ticonderoga Name and the pencils graphite grade.

Step 9

At the end of the pencil, the traditional Dixon Ticonderoga green & yellow colored ferrule is glued in place and the pencil is now complete.

6. Dixon Ticonderoga’s Pencil Range

Dixon Ticonderoga is most famous for their #2 pencils but they manufacture a wide range of different pencils. The following are the most popular pencils manufactured by Dixon Ticonderoga:

6.1. Dixon Carpenter Pencils

Dixon Carpenters Pencil

The Dixon carpenters’ pencil is a traditional oval-shaped tradesman pencil that is available with a red barrel and black lettering or a black barrel with silver lettering.

There are three different grades of lead that are available to choose from medium, soft, or hard and they are easy to sharpen.

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6.2. Dixon No 2 Pencils

Dixon No 2 Pencil

Dixon Ticonderoga is a manufacturer of premium quality cedar wood pencils sold under the Ticonderoga brand name. Their business was decimated with a flood of cheap Chinese pencils that they could not compete with.

They decided that if you can’t beat them then join them and the Dixon #2 pencil was born as a direct rival to the cheap Chinese pencils. They dropped Ticonderoga from the pencil’s name and manufactured it from a cheaper wood and a lower grade of graphite.

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6.3. Dixon Oriole Pencils

Dixon Oriole Pencil

The Dixon Oriole is the next step up the food chain of pencils manufactured by Dixon Ticonderoga. It is still called just Dixon as it is not made from cedar wood but from jelutong wood and is manufactured in china.

At the end of the day, It is still a cheap and cheerful pencil but it is a bit better quality than the Dixon #2 pencil.

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6.4. Dixon Ticonderoga #2 Pencils

Dixon Ticonderoga No 2 Pencil

The Dixon Ticonderoga #2 Pencil is the pencil that made them famous with its yellow barrel and distinctive green and yellow ferrule to hold the latex-free eraser in place. The #2 is a high-quality pencil that is made from cedar wood with a specially formulated graphite core for smooth writing. It has stood the test of time as a quality and reliable general-purpose #2 pencil. That is easy to sharpen, is smudge poof and its lead has a high break resistance.

As with all the pencils in the Ticonderoga range they are manufactured from premium wood that is harvested from responsibly managed forests.

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6.6. Dixon Ticonderoga Black Pencils

Dixon Ticonderoga Black Pencil

Not to be confused with Dixon Ticonderoga Noir Pencils the Dixon Ticonderoga Black Pencils are still made from the same high-quality Californian cedar wood. However, it has been dyed Jet black although it does retrain their trademark green and yellow brass ferrule that holds the eraser in place.

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6.6. Dixon Ticonderoga Giant Pencil

Dixon Ticonderoga Giant Pencil

The Dixon Ticonderoga Giant Pencil really is a bad boy of a pencil it is available as a 25-inch pencil which let’s face it is huge. But this pales into insignificance when you compare it to the 6-foot version. Although the 6-foot version is a mere 70 feet smaller than the world’s biggest pencil. Click Here to See The Worlds 8 Biggest Pencils.

Why anyone would want a giant-sized Ticonderoga pencil beats me, but they are available to buy in either black or yellow and are exact replicas of the standard-sized pencil. 

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6.7. Dixon Ticonderoga Golf Pencils

Dixon Ticonderoga Golf Pencil

The Dixon Ticonderoga Golf pencil is a mini 3.5-inch wooden pencil with an eraser. It turns out that these pencils are not only popular with golfers but also with elementary school teachers. As the pencil is a perfect size for their children’s small hands.

As with all the pencils in the Ticonderoga range they are manufactured from premium cedar wood that is harvested from responsibly managed forests.

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6.8. Dixon Ticonderoga Laddie Pencils

Dixon Ticonderoga Laddie Pencil

The Dixon Ticonderoga Laddie Pencil is designed as a halfway house for young writers. It is slimmer than the My First Pencil but not as slim as the classic Ticonderoga # 2.

The idea is that it eases you into using standard-sized pencils as your writing skills progress.

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6.9. Dixon Ticonderoga My First Pencils

Dixon Ticonderoga Beginners Pencil

The Dixon Ticonderoga My First pencil is a beginner’s pencil with a larger diameter barrel that is designed for those who are just starting to write. It was originally known as the Dixon Ticonderoga beginner pencil before someone in their marketing department decide to change its name.

It is one of our top choices in the 10 Best Pencils for Kindergartners where we also recommend the best option for young left-handed writers.

As with all the pencils in the Ticonderoga range they are manufactured from premium cedar wood that is harvested from responsibly managed forests. 

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6.10. Dixon Ticonderoga Noir Pencils

Dixon Ticonderoga Noir Pencil

The noir Dixon Ticonderoga pencil is a bit like marmite (a horrible tasting yeast-based food spread) you either love it or hate it. Basically, it is a Ticonderoga cedar wood pencil that has been dyed black and then wrapped in a silver sheen.

In 2008 not long after the Dixon Ticonderoga Noir was unleashed on the general public Stephen at Pencil Talk called it “a Made in China garish fluorescent silver finish pencil with black dyed wood”

I think it is safe to say that he was not overly impressed with it. However, If you pop over to Amazon you will find that it has a perfect 5-star rating from over 1900 reviews.

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6.11. Dixon Ticonderoga Triangular Pencils

Dixon Ticonderoga Tri Write Pencil

Dixon Ticonderoga Tri-Write is a triangular-shaped pencil that helps to promote a proper tripod grip while holding the pencil. It is the same size as standard Ticonderoga pencils and available with either a classic yellow or all-black finish.

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7. Are Dixon Ticonderoga The Best Pencils?

Dixon Ticonderoga is a premium quality pencil and like all good pencils, they are made from Cedar Wood. They are not considered to be the best pencil as Blackwing, Mitsibushi & Tombow are renowned for making the finest wooden pencils.

For more information check out Who Makes the Best Wooden Pencils which is featured as part of our Wooden pencils Vs Mechanical Pencils article.

8. What does Ticonderoga Pencil Mean?

Dixon Ticonderoga pencils are named after Ticonderoga a town in Essex County, New York which was one of the first places where graphite mining took place.,_New_York

9. Dixon Ticonderoga Black Pencils Vs Yellow Pencils

There is no difference between a Dixon Ticonderoga wooden pencil with a black barrel and one with a yellow barrel apart from the color. They are both Ticonderoga branded and therefore made from cedar wood it just that the black pencil has been dyed black as opposed to having a yellow lacquered finish.

In the end, it all boils down to personal preference as to whether you prefer the classic lacquered yellow finish or the more modern jet-black finish.

10. Dixon Oriole Pencils Vs Ticonderoga Pencils

When trying to compare the Dixon Oriole Pencils to the Ticonderoga Pencils it is like comparing an old nag with a thoroughbred stallion.

The Dixon Ticonderoga is a premium high-quality cedar wood pencil with a specially formulated graphite core for smooth writing and a 100-year heritage.

The Dixon Oriole is a Chinese-made mass-produced pencil to ironically compete with the other cheap Chinese pencils that have flooded America.

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Peter Warrior: Pen & Pencil Expert

With nearly a decade of experience in the pen industry, I successfully ran an online pen business for 9 years. My deep-rooted passion for pens and pencils led me to become a part-time blogger, where I've dedicated myself to sharing the wealth of knowledge I've amassed over the years. I'm a firm believer in the power of the written word, as echoed by Malcolm Forbes: "Putting pen to paper lights more fire than matches ever will." My expertise is not just rooted in business, but in the genuine appreciation and understanding of the art of writing instruments.

1 thought on “The Ultimate Guide to Dixon Ticonderoga Pencils”

  1. Great article, thanks. I found it surprising that nothing was said about the Ticonderoga pencils with harder graphite cores. Take the #2.5. I have used these for many years and like that they don’t dull as quickly as #2’s, but still leave a good mark. Over the years I have found them just right for me. But then I bought a couple of new boxes from a large retailer. I was happy to have found them, as they aren’t easy to find today. However, these seem to write much more like a common #2. I’m a bit suspicious of an undeserved “upgrade” marking on them. Is Ticonderoga playing with the hardness designations on their pencils these days? Maybe I should try a new #3?


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