The General Pencil Company is an American company that makes their pencils in the United States, and they have been doing so since 1889 - relatively rare in a day when most pencils are being made overseas. I had never even heard of General's pencils until I started reading pencil blogs, so I was delighted to come across this Kimberly drawing pencil in B at the thrift store.
I loved it right away because it has a green body with gold lettering - one of my favourite colour combinations. I also love the metal cap on the end, which to me gives the pencil a vintage feel, although according to this informative post at pencil talk, the cap is actually a later addition. Regardless, it sets the Kimberly apart from nearly all commonly encountered pencils. The Kimberly comes in a range of grades, from 9H to 9XXB. Mine is a B, which puts it roughly in the middle, slightly softer than an HB. It sharpens very cleanly and I love the cedar smell of the wood.
|Metal cap. Also tooth marks. They're not mine. I told you this came from the thrift store. Just ignore them. That's what I'm trying to do.|
I really like this pencil - although it's not fancy, I have no complaints about it. It just performs well. For writing, it is reasonably dark, not as smooth as the Rhodia Pencil I last reviewed, but with an enjoyably scratchy sound on the page. For sketching, I feel that the B is not quite as dark as I would prefer; in the future, I think I would select a slightly softer grade. I am much happier with my sketches for this review than I was with my sketch for my review of the Staedtler Mars Lumograph, so maybe the Kimberly has improved my pencil sketching ability? Maybe, but I think it's more likely that I'm just happier sketching seashells than I am lamps!
I actually think that I might enjoy sketching with this pencil more than I did with the Lumograph. I can't quite identify what it is, but there is something about the Kimberly that I really like... more feedback with the paper or... something. I'll need more experience with wooden pencils to say for sure which one I prefer, but I think the Kimberly could possibly become my new favourite pencil.
Overall, if you're looking for a quality, American-made pencil, look no further than General's Kimberly. The more I use it, the more I like it. I highly recommend it, and I'll be looking for more products from the General Pencil Company in the future.
Related review: pencil talk.