Pencil Manufacturer Thrives in the Digital Age

We visited among the last remaining pencil manufacturing facilities in America: Musgrave Pencil Co. in Shelbyville, Tenn. Despite modifications in American production as well as the surge of modern technology, Musgrave stays a healthy and balanced organization. We talked with Henry Hulan of Musgrave regarding how pencils are made, the lengthy history of pencil-making in Central Tennessee, as well as the long-lasting popularity of the modest pencil in the digital age.

Henry Hulan is the grandson of the founder of Musgrave Pencil Co., James Musgrave, frequently referred to as “Col. Musgrave.” He founded the company in 1916 as well as created an innovative method to produce pencils: the pencil slat.

” My grandpa was either a visionary or a business owner,” claimed Hulan. Grooves are cut into slices of timber called slats, graphite cores are assailed the grooves, as well as lastly, one more grooved slat is glued ahead. All 3 layers are compressed, after that shaved as well as separated into private pencils.

Remarkably, Musgrave did not make use of timber from trees initially. “A lot of individuals don’t know it, yet we were possibly among the first people that did any kind of kind of reusing that there was,” Hulan said. Col. Musgrave got cedar rail fences from farmers who were transitioning to fencings made of modern-day materials. “We did not reduce a tree,” Hulan included. Those fences were constructed from Tennessee red cedar, abundant in the location, as well as were the ideal product for pencils.

As other pencil companies in Central Tennessee shut and also service relocated to other states or overseas, Musgrave has been able to stay open, employing regional workers and also putting out a quality, American-made product. Via a combination of strategic monitoring decisions, long-lasting staff members and also dedicated customers, they’ve been flourishing. Musgrave also produces a substantial range of pencils and also reaches every type of composing customer– students, designers, carpenters, artists and more. “I believe by being a jack-of-all-trades, we have actually had the ability to stay in this community as well as have people concern us for their pencil desires,” Hulan claimed.

Recently, there’s been an expanding need for pencils and also other analog things in this time of all things digital. The pencil pattern, exhibited by individuals such as Caroline Weaver of CW Pencil Enterprise in New York and The Erasable Podcast, have actually also helped buoy the pencil market.

“Pencils are special,” Hulan said. “Individuals like them because they are wood– it’s not plastic, it’s timber,” he stated. “The feel and the look of a pencil is simply one of those things that will never be changed.”

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