Joseph Dixon 1799-1869
Joseph Dixon is the founder of the Dixon Ticonderoga Company. His versatility and enquiring mind was ever alert to seize "the opportunity offered by the suggestion of the moment." His fascination with new technologies lead to many different notable innovations that contributed to America's development and progress. As a printer and a photographer, he designed a mirror into a camera that was the forerunner of the viewfinder, patented a double-crank steam engine, evolved a method of printing banknotes to foil counterfeiters, and patented a new method for tunneling under water. As a manufacturer and entrepreneur, Joseph Dixon produced the first pencil made in the United States and was responsible for the development of the graphite industry in the United States. He was also instrumental in starting the United States' steel industry. At the time of Joseph Dixon's death in 1869, The Joseph Dixon Crucible Company was the largest manufacturer of graphite products in the world. Listed among his friends were such great American inventors as Robert Fulton, Samuel Morse, and Alexander Graham Bell.
In 1827, Joseph Dixon began his business in Salem, Massachusetts. He discovered the merits of graphite as a stove polish and an additive in lubricants, foundry facings, brake linings, oil less bearings, and non-corrosive paint and manufactured lubricants, pencils, stove polish and graphite crucibles; refractory vessels used for melting metals and minerals.
One of Joseph Dixon's inventions was a heat-resistant graphite crucible widely used in the production of iron and steel during the Mexican-American War. This invention was so successful that Joseph Dixon built a crucible factory in New Jersey, in 1847.
During the 1860's, people still wrote with quill pens and ink, even though Joseph Dixon introduced the first graphite pencil in 1829. It wasn't until the Civil War that the demand for a dry, clean, portable writing instrument became popular and led to the mass production of pencils. Joseph Dixon was the first to develop pencil automation. In 1872, the company was making 86,000 pencils a day.
By 1870, The Joseph Dixon Crucible Company was the world's largest dealer and consumer of graphite and had garnered worldwide recognition for its superior product quality. The Joseph Dixon Crucible Company continued to prosper throughout the 20th Century by growing through a series of mergers and acquisitions.
In 1982, the Joseph Dixon Crucible Company merged with the Bryn Mawr Corporation, a Pennsylvania transportation and real estate company with operations dating back to 1795, the beginning of President George Washington's second term. Together, these companies formed the Dixon Ticonderoga Company, named after Joseph Dixon and its oldest brand-name pencil.
The same innovation behind the imagination and ingenuity of Joseph Dixon lives on in the Dixon Ticonderoga Company. Today, Dixon Ticonderoga Company enjoys strong brand recognition in a diversified line of educational, art, office and industrial products serving industry, commerce, education, government and homes world-wide. We make our products with pride by continuing to provide innovative solutions in quality products that work and have value.