Does the Blackwing live up to its hype?

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Celebrity obsessions are easy to mock, but I was still interested to read this piece about Hollywood’s obsession with the Blackwing 602 pencil, once prized by Nabokov and Kubrick and now out of production… certainly you can’t fault people for wanting good tools. “I have found a new kind of pencil,” raved Steinbeck. “The best I have ever had!”

Nonetheless, it’s hard to imagine paying $50 for the privilege. Have you tried the Blackwing 602 or its reissued Palomino counterpart? What did you think?

3 thoughts on “Does the Blackwing live up to its hype?

  1. With the original Blackwing, there was no hype, aside perhaps from the slogan on the barrel. Not a single ad has turned up, as Blackwing Pages has pointed out. The words of praise from various writers were always in passing and usually in relatively private contexts — a mention in a letter or journal entry or interview. With the replica Blackwing and the sometimes farfetched or undocumented claims about its users, it’s quite a different story, I think. E. B. White, for instance, never used the Palomino Blackwing. No time-travel machine works that well.

    I’ve used original Blackwings, and they’re an absolute pleasure to write with.

  2. I don’t think they live up to the hype at all. I had a couple, and they were scratchy and poorly balanced. They also were cracked all up the graphite core so when you sharpened, you went through a lot of pencil. When you went to make a line with them, they kept catching on the paper, like there were impurities in the graphite. I far prefer a 2mm lead holder and some uniball-mistubishi graphite. When a 2H is smoother than the Blackwings, there is a problem.

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