Millions of school children use the iconic Dixon Ticonderoga No. 2 pencil every day, and the company has fiercely sought protection from the US government to preserve it as a domestic industry:
In 2000, lawmakers passed the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act, which allowed American companies to collect some of the duties paid by importers of their competitors’ products. Dixon repeatedly made claims, saying it was a domestic manufacturer, and the government sent the company payments over 10 years totalling almost US$5 million, according to US Customs and Border Protection records.
But where are all those pencils actually made?
The company says that, worldwide, it makes nearly 500 million pencils each year, but it would not release any details about its US production. It denied a request to tour the facility. Photographs of the Macon distribution centre, posted by employees on Facebook, offer only a limited view of its operations, showing a number of cardboard boxes marked, “Made in China.”
Damian Paletta explains the intricacies of making something as simple as a No.2 pencil in this intriguing article over at South China Morning Post.