Utility Pencils

Shortages in the war affected many different everyday items and ways to reduce materials were implemented in many odd and varied ways. One of the humblest items to change was the ubiquitous pencil. Where these had tradtionally had a coat of gloss paint on the outside to protect them, in wartime this was an unnecessary use of raw materials and so they were left in plain wood:

These three pencils all date from World War II. Two are issued by the Stationary Office, the official government supplier of office equipment, whilst the other is marked “utility”. Two are blue coloured or chinagraph pencils, whilst the third is a standard HB lead pencil:

The HB pencil, in the centre above, is also marked on the other side indicating that it is made of Empire cedar wood:

These pencils have been built up over a number of years by rooting through old pencil cases on the market to find examples. They are perfect companions for my wartime square protractor in a map case and finish it off rather nicely.

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