This Is Why Pencils Are Traditionally Yellow

It’s one of those things people are exposed to everyday but few actually know the true origin. Why pencils are yellow? Why not red or green or whatever?

Well, because as a loyal I’m A Useless Info Junkie reader you should know, here’s the interesting story.

Even though yellow pencils are now considered an American icon, it all started in Europe. At the end of the 19th century, Czech manufacturer KOH-I-NOOR developed the iconic pencil 1500 – a high quality pencil that had all of gradations. Inspired by its name, (Koh-i-noor is a famous yelow Indian diamond that’s on the right of Queen Elizabeth’s II crown), the company decided to paint the new pencil yellow. This yellow color though, had another very symbolic meaning. (the article continues after the ad)

At the time, China was considered the country with the best graphite in the world. Because Chinese associated yellow color with royalty and luxury, it was a way for Koh-i-noor to communicate their high quality graphite and this “regal” feeling.

The pencil 1500 was quite expensive but it became a huge success and it was quickly considered the best pencil in the market. As a result, copycats started imitating the pencil and that’s why even today, pencils are yellow.

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: This Is Why Beer Bottles Are Usually Brown Or Green 


Photo: Ben Butzer
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: THE YELLOW PENCILWhy Are Pencils Yellow?The True Story Behind The Yellow Pencil Meaning | KOH-I-NOOR HistoryThe Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance