Wallace Pencil Company Motif Pencil Box

Wallace Pencil Company Motif Pencil Box

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Usage conditions apply
This oblong green, blue, and gold metal pencil box holds no pencils. The top is marked: WALLACE (/) Motif A FINE (/) 5¢ PENCIL (/) WALLACE PENCIL CO. (/) Saint Louis, U.S.A. It is also marked: W (/) THE SEAL (/) OF QUALITY. It is also marked: LARSEN. One end of the box is marked: WALLACE Motif. The other end is marked: GRADE — 2 2/4. The bottom of the box is marked: WALLACE Motif (/) IN THE FOLLOWING FIVE DEGREES 1–2–2 2/4–3–4 (/) The Wallace Motif is the finest 5¢ pencil for general use that can be bought. Like all pencils (/) in the famous Wallace line, it is made exclusively in the big modern factory that has become famous (/) for quality manufacture.
The Wallace Pencil Company began manufacturing wooden pencils in St. Louis in 1915. By 1979 it sold 120 million pencils per year. Before the 1950s, the firm packaged some of these pencils, such as its Motif line, in metal tins. Dixon Ticonderoga acquired the firm in the 1980s.
William J. Ellenberger (1908–2008) donated this object, which he presumably acquired secondhand from P. M. Larsen. See also 1981.0933.14. Ellenberger studied electrical and mechanical engineering at The George Washington University between 1925 and 1934. He then worked for the Potomac Electric Power Company and the National Bureau of Standards. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. He was a civilian construction management engineer for the army from 1954 to 1968, when he became a private consultant.
References: K. J. H. Cochran, "Wallace Native to Missouri: The Romance of a Yellow No. 2 Pencil," Bulletin Journal, Cape Girardeau, Mo., June 12, 1979; "The GW Engineering Hall of Fame 2006 Inductees," http://www.weas.gwu.edu/ifaf/hall_of_fame_inductees_2006.php.
Currently not on view
Object Name
pencil box
date made
Wallace Pencil Co.
place made
United States: Missouri, St. Louis
Physical Description
aluminum (overall material)
overall: 19.7 cm x 5.2 cm x 1.7 cm; 7 3/4 in x 2 1/16 in x 21/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of William J. Ellenberger
writing implements
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Pens and Pencils
Science & Mathematics
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I found a Wallace pencil that came from my grandparents' house, and then I found the old Wallace building itself in Saint Louis! It is so neat to learn more about the company.
"We celebrated Fathers day yesterday and my daughter who resides in Georgiasent me a metal box of Wallace Motif pencils. I am delighted to have them. I live in Toronto Canada. No indication as to when they were manufactured. I want to leave them as they are, Respectfully Yours Anthony Westbrook"

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