Sanford Pencil Factory Tour
by Doug Martin

Page 6

FIG. 36.

FIG. 37.

FIG. 38.

Among the most impressive machines at the facility are the old Blaisdell paper pencil wrapping machines. Built in the 1940s, these machines wrap paper around a wax core, complete with a piece of string. The pencils are 'sharpened' by pulling the string to tear a bit of the paper, which is then unrolled to expose more of the core. You may know this type of pencil as a China marking pencil. Because of their age, the machines need constant attention, and are among the most difficult to operate in the whole facility. In spite of this, China marking pencils are the single highest volume product manufactured at this site.
I had the good fortune to see one of these machines in operation during my tour. Paper is fed from a roll at the back of the machine (Figure 38). As it is drawn up onto the front table (Figure 36), scoring marks are put on the paper to facilitate tearing the paper while 'sharpening' the pencil. A piece of string is drawn across the paper and cut, as a wax core is positioned near the front of the table. The paper is then rolled around the core to form the pencil. As I watched, the operator had to unjam the machine several times. The pencils are later dipped in paint before being packed and shipped. They are available in a variety of colors.
This concludes the tour. I would like to thank Sanford Corporation, and especially Kevin Cole, my guide, for taking the time to show me around.

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