The Dixon Ticonderoga pencil is 100 this year. To commemorate this event, the Ticonderoga Heritage Museum and the Ticonderoga Stamp Club will hold a stamp cancellation on Tuesday, July 23, at the Heritage Museum 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For the price of a postage stamp collectors can get a one-of-a-kind souvenir. A special cachet and post card set will also be available.
If you’ve ever used a pencil — And who hasn’t? — you’ve almost certainly used a Dixon Ticonderoga.
The brand, famous worldwide, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, the Ticonderoga Stamp Club and Ticonderoga Heritage Museum will host a special event Tuesday, July 23.
That’s when a special postal cachet and post card set, designed by artists Stan Burdick of Ticonderoga and Kama Ingleston of Crown Point, will be sold to the public 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the museum.
There will also be discussions of stamps and stamp collecting as well as tours of the museum.
“It’s going to be a good day,” said Burdick, president of Ticonderoga Stamp Club. “We hope a lot of people will stop by and see the new cachet and see the museum.”
This is the second postal cachet designed by the Ti Stamp Club. The first, depicting the Lake Champlain Bridge opening, sold 200 sets. That cachet will also be on sale July 23.
“Stamp enthusiasts are great collectors,” Burdick said. “We had people from all over the country buy our first venture (the bridge cachet).”
Joseph Dixon, who grew up in Massachusetts in the early 1800s, had long dreamed of manufacturing affordable pencils. When the Civil War began there was suddenly a demand for pencils as soldiers and their families sought to stay in touch. Dixon invented a wood planing machine that churned out 132 pencils a minute, enabling him to create four-inch long, cedar pencils. With the technology now available to make the wooden pencils, the difficult part became finding graphite.
Following Dixon’s death, his son-in-law took over his company and in 1873 purchased Ticonderoga’s American Graphite Company. That deal led to the creation of Dixon Ticonderoga in 1913. By 1954 it’s believed 75 percent of the world’s pencils were Dixon Ticonderoga.
Despite’s name, the pencils were never manufactured in Ticonderoga.
The Dixon Ticonderoga Company is today headquartered in Heathrow, Fla., and now makes several brands of pencils, although the Ticonderoga — a yellow no. 2 pencil — is still its most popular. Dixon Ticonderoga pencils are no longer made in America.
Burdick hopes the centennial anniversary of the Dixon Ticonderoga pencil will draw attention to the Ticonderoga Stamp Club and the Ticonderoga Heritage Museum.
“The stamp club is a lot of fun,” Burdick said. “I started it several years ago and we’ve gradually picked up people from all over the area.”
The club meets for lunch the fourth Wednesday of each month at Emerald’s Restaurant in Ticonderoga.
The Ticonderoga Heritage Museum is located in downtown Ticonderoga on the edge of Bicentennial Park. Commonly called the “1888 Building” the museum is housed in the only remaining structure of the old Ticonderoga Pulp and Paper mill that once sprawled across most of the lower section of the town.
Today the museum hosts an Adirondack gift shop and displays exhibits on the 200-year history of industries that built the town. It is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Columbus Day. The museum is handicapped accessible. For more information call 585-2696.
The 1888 Building is an exhibit in itself. It was once headquarters to the International Paper Co. mill that operated along the adjacent LaChute River. When IP moved its mill a few miles north of the hamlet, the building was given to the town. The museum board leases the building. In the past few years the building has received a $100,000 facelift and there are ongoing plans for further improvements.