Monday, June 4, 2012

The Big Pencil, Wytheville, Virginia


I'm told this is the biggest pencil in Virginia. My guess is this is the biggest pencil in the United States.

The pencil was made in the 1950's for Wytheville Office Supply store and as a counterpoint for a three-dimensional paint can that used to hang as signage outside a long-gone paint store. The original owner of the store wanted an eye-catching advertising gimmick to bring in customers when Main Street (which is US Highway 21) was the main route for travelers traveling from the northeastern states down to Florida.

The office supply store has moved several times since the 1950's and the pencil has always made the move with it. I wonder how many kids today are familiar with the No. 2 yellow pencil? They've stopped teaching cursive writing in schools and start keyboarding as young as kindergarten now. Outside of test papers where you have to fill in the correct oval, who uses pencils?

6 comments:

Toffeeapple said...

It might even be the biggest pencil in the world! I like it a lot. I am shocked that schools have stopped teaching cursive script! How is one to sign a signature?

Val said...

An interesting story! I remember reading a Bill Bryson book in which he reminisced about persuading his parents to draw off main roads to look at things like "The Largest Pineapple" and other such inducements to passers by.

Anyes said...

I wonder from how far you see this giant pencil coming towards the city?

Matt Bennett said...

Karen,
I accidentally stumbled across your site one day when I was researching the "Evergreen Academy". I must say I'm enjoying your posts. I'm also a photographer and long-time resident of Randolph County.
MB

frayedattheedge said...

We have been to a pencil museum, which has a very big pencil. It was actually a very interesting and informative visit (we have also been to a needle museum!)

Karen said...

Toffeeapple: They have stopped teaching it in my home state of Ohio. I'm told by my cousin, who is a teacher, that if asked they will teach you how to read it and how to write your name. Sad.

Val: I love Bill Bryson; I've read all his books. I doubt I'll ever hike the Appalachian Trail like he did, but I do prefer the back roads like he does both here and in the UK.

Anyes: Believe it or not, it is down at the bottom of the hill so approaching it from the Interstate, you really don't see it until you are almost downtown.

Matt: Please do come back. Although I'm not a native of North Carolina, there is so much history to discover here.

Di: I bet there is a pencil museum here in the States somewhere (I'll have to Google it). I bet they'd love to get their hands on the Wytheville pencil.