To The Previous Letter To The Next Letter Back to Mike's Letters page.

 

27 February, 1996

Pentel® of America, Limited
2805 Columbia Street
Torrance, California
90509

Dear Sir or Madam:

Yesterday evening, I stopped by my favorite office supplies superstore warehouse and bought some more Pentel® Sharp® automatic pencils. The P-205 automatic pencil has been my favorite pencil since my dad started stealing them from the supply room at his office back when I was a wee lad.

While on the telephone with a very boring person, I happened to notice the copy on the cardboard backing of the blister pack which contained my pencils. It said: "The Industry Standard For Drafting, Accounting & General Writing".

This piqued my curiosity: what association or other body governs the industry of General Writing? I did some checking at the library today, and looked for the obvious names: "The Industry of General Writing Association", "The Association of General Writers", The General Writer's Guild", "The Americann Brotherhood of General Writers", and so on. I struck out completely! After checking my sanity by performing the same experiment on "Acocunting" (and finding The American Accountants Association) I tried again by looking for acronyms. There were no entries for IGWA, ABGW or GWG, but I did find out that AGW actually refers to The American Garment Worker's Union.

At the library, I took a few more random stabs (for example, checking under "American Pencil Pusher's Assocation") but continued to come up empty. In my frustration, I threw the empty blister pack across the study room. Before the librarian evicted me, I noticed the words "Hi-Polymer®" on the back of the package. I knoew from high-school chemistry that polymers are chemicals that are formed from long-chains of repeating molecular patterns. Since pencil leads are, I would assume, made of lead, exactly what sort of polymer is used in there?

Can you tell me how to contact the folks who wrote the industry standard for General Writing pencils? I've written a book and am a member of a couple of trade organizations, but I also do lots of General Writing--and I'm wondering if the group which supports general writers might be able to provide me benefits just as the American Motorcyclist's Association helps support my interest in motorcycling. The challenges of General Writing are daunting enough to make me interested in finding some support instead of facing them alone.

I'd love to know, perhaps from your own engineers, if my beloved Pentel® P-205 pencils merely meet or actually exceed the standards set forth by the General Writing administrators. Maybe your engineers can also explain how they formed polymers out of a relatively noble element like lead.

Thank you for your help!

Sincerely,

Mike Blaszczak
6260 139th Avenue, Northeast
Apartment #79
Redmond, Washington
98052


Back to Mike's Letters page.