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Become a Contributor

Do you have a favorite leadholder that you have not found in the Leadholder galleries?  Send in a scan or photo and your pencil will be featured on the What’s New page along with your name (if desired), and a permanent gallery entry.

Scanning:  This is the way I do it.  The image below shows a low-res version of a typical raw scan.  The ideal scan has a light gray background (my scanner has a white backdrop, but in my scan it appears light gray).  If you were to examine a histogram of the image there would be no true black and, ideally, no true white, though in practice the shiny metallic bits of the pencil create small areas of bright white.

Scanning Guide

A similar end result is preferred for photographs.  A good photographer can achieve superior results to any scan, but unless you have special equipment, natural light is best.  Flash photography is generally results in very poor images for this particular use.  The idea is to have an even light projecting on the pencil as shown in the scan above so a shadow appears below the pencil.

Once such an image has been produced, you just email it to me and I take over from there.  It typically takes a while between the time I receive an image and the time it gets posted to Leadholder.  I have a backlog of pencils to add and I work through them slowly, but surely.

List of Contributors

One of the fringe benefits of maintaining an enthusiast website is that I get to meet other enthusiasts. I’ve been lucky enough to coax some information out of some of them. I try to keep this list reasonably up-to-date and inclusive, but if I’ve missed anyone, I apologize.




Kevin Boyd (USA) Leadholders. Collector.
Dan Burkholder (USA) Information about photographic negative retouching. www.danburkholder.comLink Opens in New Window
Author of the book nobody should be without: “Making Digital Negatives for Contact Printing.”
Caran d’Ache S. A. (Switzerland) Images and a chronology of the Fixpencil. Swiss maker of writing instruments: www.carandache.comLink Opens in New Window.
Cheng-Lung Chang Information. Collector.
Carla Eloise Chait Poetry. Writer.
David Cullen (USA) Numerous excellent leadholders, and information. Collector.
Glenn Day (USA) Image of an Alteneder leadholder. Collector.
Russell Erwin (USA) Scans of Winsor & Newton leadholder set. Collector and Artist.
Mark Frankena (USA) Vintage catalog copies. curator of the fantastic Early Office MuseumLink Opens in New Window
Michael Fultz (USA) Information about Theo. Alteneder & Sons and catalog scan. Dealer in writing instruments.
Andrey Gordenco (Russia) Many leadholder and catalog scans.   Collector and dealer.
Paul Hunt (United Kingdom) Many leadholder and catalog scans.   Collector.
isu (Japan) Several leadholders and pointers of Japanese origin. Collector and author of the blog The Uncomfortable ChairLink Opens in New Window.
Jeremy Ledford (USA) Some of my coolest thin lead pencils came from Jeremy. Collector of thin lead pencils and author of Pencils 11Link Opens in New Window.
Doug Martin (USA) Examples of woodcased drawing pencils.   Curator of the classic Pencil PagesLink Opens in New Window website.
Allan Macdonald (Australia) Scans of drafting, specialized, and thin-lead leadholders; and catalog scans.   Collector specializing in drafting pencils and 19th century drafting tools.
Dmytryy Orzhekhovskyy (Ukraine) Russian and Czech leadholders. Creator of the website Ordinary PencilLink Opens in New Window.
Luca Panaro (Italy) Several scans of drafting leadholders.   Collector.
Hans Presto (Sweden) Many pencils and leads and much information.
Calligrapher, letterer from Sweden, and creator of the StalpennorLink Opens in New Windowpen nib website.
Gerard & Marijke Prudon (Netherlands) Dutch leadholders, images, and information on lead pointers. Operators of the Netherlands based pencil sharpener club, PuntgaafLink Opens in New Windowwhich publishes a catalog of all known pencil sharpeners! (and you thought I was obsessive).
David Riches (United Kingdom) Leadholder and catalog scans. Collector specializing in drafting tools.
Robert Rogers (USA) Alvin Constructor scans.   Collector.
Dick Rose (USA) Vintage catalog scans. Dealer in scientific instruments, specializing in slide rules. Operates the site www.rose-vintage-instruments.comLink Opens in New Window.
Les Newcomer (USA) Information about photographic negative retouching.   Photographer.
Pedro Figueiras Santos (Portugal) Artwork, leadholders, scans of leadholders, and numerous other things. Illustrator.
Laurie Schmidtke (USA) Leadholders loaned to Leadholder to be cataloged and scanned. Collector.
Ron Westrum (USA) Loan of vintage catalogs for scans. Drafting instrument dealer specializing in Swiss tools.
Aram Wool (USA) Scans of several thin lead drafting leadholders. Collector.


French, Thomas E.
Engineering Drawing
There are numerous editions of this work. I’ve gathered information from several of them and when I have a chance I’ll try to be more specific about which ones.

Hambly, Maya
Drawing Instruments 1580-1980 (Sotheby’s), London, 1988
This book has a modicum of information about drafting pencils, but it mainly dwells on pretty cased instrument sets, few of which were made to include pencils as such. It's an interesting book regardless and it is profusely illustrated.

Petroski, Henry
The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance (Alfred A. Knopf) New York City, 1989
This book is the best single source for pencil history. It really is the only game in town other than manufacturers’ catalogs, unless you plan on doing your own historical research into the archives of pencil manufacturers themselves. (But I warn you: the old, esteemed pencil manufacturers have been merged and reorganized so many times in the last 30 years that it is difficult to find someone at say, Sanford Corp., who even knows that they subsumed the Eagle Pencil Co. which was subsumed by Berol which was subsumed by Empire which was subsumed by Sanford.)

All the catalogs in the Vintage Catalog Gallery have been valuable sources of drafting pencil information.