Brand: Tombow Pencil Co.
Made in: Japan
Neat piece of WWII history right here. A 75 year-old pencil!
Here’s what it says:
• The first character “authorized” the price of 20 sen
• Special oil permeated lead
• Tombow Ultimate Class Drawing Pencil
• 8000, Middle
Backstory: In 1938, the Japanese government decided that the price of pencils must be set at 20 sen or less. (100 sen = 1 yen.) Then in 1943, when the usage of all alphabets was forbidden, “HB” was changed to the Japanese character “Middle.” By the end of WWII these rules were no longer in place, which means this pencil was most likely produced between 1943 and 1945.
Side note: 20 Japanese sen in today’s currency is about 2 U.S. cents!
This Japanese company was founded in 1913 and is still manufacturing fine writing instruments nearly 110 years later.
According to their website, “Tombow (tonbo) means “dragonfly” in Japanese and was often referred to as akizu/akitsu in ancient times. Since Japan was called Akitsu shima (dragonfly island in English) in the past, the name of the company also represents our desire to represent Japan's stationery industry.”