Tracing our Roots

 

As one of America’s oldest corporations, the Dixon Ticonderoga Company traces its heritage to the proponents of the American Revolution – and the very foundations of the United States. Dixon Ticonderoga is rooted in innovation and continues to embody the inventive spirit of our American visionary Joseph Dixon.

Birth of the Dixon Pencil

1812

The son of a ship captain, Joseph Dixon had a curious mind and an entrepreneurial spirit. He enjoyed experimenting with various uses for graphite found on his father’s sailing vessels. He mixed the mineral with clay and water, rolled it into strips and baked it in his mother’s oven. He then pressed the mixture into grooved cedar wood, and the first Dixon pencil was created.

Graphite Becomes Big Business

1827

Dixon’s fascination with new technologies led to many notable innovations that contributed to America’s development and progress. Having discovered a variety of uses for graphite – from stove polish to crucibles – he began his business in Salem, Mass., in 1827.

Dixon Builds Crucible Factory

1847

One of Dixon’s inventions was a heat-resistant graphite crucible widely used in the production of iron and steel during the Mexican-American War. This invention was so successful that, in 1847, Dixon built a crucible factory in New Jersey.

Demand Fuels Innovation

1866

Despite having been introduced in 1829, it wasn’t until the Civil War – when soldiers were seeking a more practical alternative to the quill pen for writing home – that the pencil became widely adopted. Rising demand promoted Dixon to invent a machine capable of producing 132 pencils per minute.

Pencil Enters Mass Production

1872

At the time of Dixon’s death in 1869, the Joseph Dixon Crucible Company was the largest manufacturer of graphite products in the world. By 1872, the Dixon Crucible Company was making 86,000 pencils a day.

The Classic Yellow No. 2 is Introduced

1913

In 1913, the yellow No. 2 Ticonderoga pencil was introduced. The pencil was originally manufactured with brass ferrule, but it was temporarily changed to green plastic due to a metal shortage during World War II. The now-iconic color scheme continued after the war on metal ferrule.