Following my discovery of (and subsequent obsession with) pencils, I discovered the Sanford NoBlot pencil. It proudly lists “a bottle of ink in every pencil” in silver foil stamped letters on every pencil. How exciting! I found a dozen of these pencil wonders and immediately put them on my Amazon wishlist. Lo and behold, about a week before Christmas, an Amazon box arrived (one of those standard book-sized boxes) and inside was a small paperboard box with a dozen NoBlot pencils inside. I was practically giddy.
To this day, I have no idea who bought these for me but I want them to know that, following a long cruddy week at work, a box of yummy wonderful pencils completely made my day. The only other mini-event in December that filled me with as much “I love the world” feeling as this little box of NoBlots was a ride across my office campus in a golf cart with one of the building maintenance guys. I felt like royalty! (Okay, I’m also getting off-topic. Sorry.)
In my not-so-scientific testing of the Noblot, I discovered that it sharpens nicely, writes smoothly and does not smear (with a little spit and some effort I can get it to smear but I really had to try). I’m left-handed so smearing as I write has always been an issue for me. All through grade school, the heel of my left hand seemed to be permanently blackened by graphite.
As with most pencils, the Staedtler Mars plastic eraser was able to remove almost all traces of writing. Though, once I started erasing, I noticed that when the Noblot lead (graphite, whatever) was erased, it left a slightly bluish residue. This strange phenomena struck me to do some research about it.
The most concise information I could find about the Noblot was on the Dick Blick art supply web site. According to Dick Blick: “This permanent, soluble pencil is a must for restoring old signs. … Simply outline old letters and designs. Then, paint background colors directly over your marks. (We recommend waterbase paints.) The pencil will bleed through for a precise line to follow.” I have yet to try out their claims but its seems to be an interesting discovery. I like the historical uses for this unique little pencil.
I found more information about copying and indelible pencils and learned quite a bit. The bit in the middle of the article about the chemical make-up of copying and indelible pencils can be skipped as there is more layman information further down the article. I discovered that copying/indelible pencils were originally developed in 1870s and were used frequently as the ball point pen of their day. The copying/indelible pencil was originally developed for copying and carbon copy paper. Since the only writing instruments at the time were dip pens and messy fountain pens (the technology had not yet been perfected), the indelible pencil also made a perfect portable writing instrument. It was difficult to erase indelible pencil without leaving a mark so it was used regularly until the ball point pen was developed.
In my opinion, the Noblot is a cool little pencil and a great bit of history. I recommend picking up a dozen before they are nothing but a memory.
A dozen of Noblot pencils cost a little over $7US.