Blackwing 602
Lifestyle,  Uncategorized

Palomino Blackwing 602: cult pencils

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Palomino Blackwing 602 pencils are among the cult object of creative people all around the world.

John Steinbeck used his Blackwing 602 to write the Eden Valley and he said about his pencil: “I have found a new kind of pencil—the best I have ever had. Of course, it costs three times as much too but it is black and soft but doesn’t break off. I think I will always use these. They are called Blackwings and they really glide over the paper.”

Among famous Palomino lovers there is: Leonard Bernstein (it seems that West Side Story had been written with a Blackwing 602), that Vladimir Nabokov used this pencil to write “Lolita”, that Chuck Jones, Looney Tunes creator, used it to draw Bugs Bunny and Shamus Culhane, Disney animator who lead the animation team in Snow White and Pinocchio, asked to be buried with his own Blackwing 602.

The history of these pencils is peculiar. The company started producing pencils in 1917, but only when Eberhard Faber invents Blackwing 602 in 1934, Palomino enters in the history of pencils.


The wood is made by California cedar while the graphite comes from Japan. Another characteristic is the squared and removable rubber on top of the pencil.

In 1998 after some company acquisitions, Palomino stops producing pencils. Creative from all around the world start buying all remaining stock in shops.

Such fuss around pencils lead to collections: Palomino pencils can be purchased on eBay for more than 40 UDS each.

Artists ask Palomino founders to start producing pencils again and not interrupt the tradition which traced back to the middle of the 19th Century.

In 2010 pencils are back in stores as high-quality pencils. They realize some limited editions to encourage every form of creativity.

In this gallery, you can find some Palomino belonging to my collection (yes, once you start collecting them you get addicted!),

  • 16.2 pencil is dedicated to Ada Lovelace, the only child of Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Milbanke, a math talented girl. It seems that while she was translating an article by Charles Babbage on the analytical computer, she drafted some notes and ideas which are considered the very first software of history. The black and white color of the pencil recalls the first pc and on the back of the pencil it is written AAL (Lovelace’s signature) in binary code.
  • 10001 pencil is dedicated to Testuya Miyamoto, the Japanese teacher who revolutionized how to teach to children thanks to the puzzle game he invented: the Ken-Ken
  • The 33 1/3 pencil is dedicated to vinyl and to its history which, like Palomino’s, from the second half of the 19th Century still continues despite up and down. This pencil recalls black vinyl and its grooves.
  • 54 pencil is dedicated to Surrealism and its artists who tried to free unconscious and creativity by introducing chance and absurd in the world of art. Surrealism influences continued in the following artistic movements: post-modern poetry, pop art, punk music. Its disdain for convention and authority also laid the foundation for counter-culture protests of 1960s and beyond.

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Francesco and I, we love so much Palomino Blackwing that we choose them as our wedding favors.

Fratelli Bonvini stationery shop in Milan realized a customized package (we already shoed it in this blog post).

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Bye for now!


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