Sunday, 17 January 2010

Cumberland Pencils, King's Own, before Parliament.

Cumberland Pencils King's Own were accused of being brittle, unsuitable for "ordinary purposes", even frauds! The unfavourable review was presented before the British Parliament, the House of Commons, on 16 February 1943, right in the middle of the war.

William Thorne, MP, asked the President of the Board of Trade to
prevent any more of the Cumberland lead pencils known as the King's Own C.B. because they are so brittle that no one can sharpen them, either with a knife or with a pencil sharpener.

King's Own. Cumberland Pencil Museum.
Photo L. Apostolakou

Hugh Dalton (President of the Board of Trade between 1942 and 1945 and later Chancellor of the Exchequer in Clement Atlee's Labour government 1945-7) corrected Thorne that the pencil in question was the King's Own 3B. He agreed that "this type of pencil is not suitable for ordinary purposes" and said that since 30th June none has been manufactured.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this pencil is an absolute fraud?          
I am told that it is used by artists; but I agree that it is not suitable for general purposes. That is why I have discontinued the production.
If you go into the Library and put one of these pencils into a pencil sharpener, you will find that it is too brittle to sharpen at all.

 King's Own Finest Drawing Pencils from the Cumberland Pencil Museum, Keswick, England
Photos L. Apostolakou

On King's Own mechanical pencil, see Leadholder

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