Jersey City, NJ: The write stuff since 1889
It's been a while since we were in school, but September still has us itching to stock up on shiny new supplies, pencils included.
While most pencils these days come to you from China or Mexico, the family-owned, 121-year-old General Pencil Company is one of just a few manufacturers still making the iconic writing implement on American soil.
They've survived by putting quality above efficiency: Machines that are more than 100 years old allow them to painstakingly create particular blends of clay and graphite. General Pencil Co.'s devotees (many of whom are artists, the company's core demographic nowadays) say there's no comparison—a General pencil is to a cheapo import what aged reggiano is to a Kraft single.
Which is why we're featuring the Company, even though it currently doesn't offer official tours of its Jersey City factory: An institution this amazing makes us want to go behind the scenes. Here's hoping they add factory tours in the near future. Meantime, you can see how a pencil is made on the company's website.