EXCERPT TAKEN FROM THE PREFACE OF "THE BEST OF IT'S KIND"
The Dixon Ticonderoga Company, one of America's oldest corporations, evolved for over two hundred years and traces its heritage to the proponents of the American Revolution and to the very foundations of the United States. With the merger of the Bryn Mawr Corporation and the Joseph Dixon Crucible Co. in 1983, the lineage's of a number of pioneer American industries were joined together, much like the branches of an ancient spreading oak tree. The heritage of corporation known as the Philadelphia to Lancaster Turnpike Road Company - is joined with that of: Joseph Dixon, the founder of Americas graphite industry; the American Crayon Co., one of the country's oldest school suppliers: and Louis Prang, the world-renowned chromolithographer and art educator; and a number of other early American companies.
The company's American heritage includes pioneering work in manufacturing, advertising and marketing. For example, Joseph Dixon and Orestes Cleveland were the first to mechanize pencil manufacturing; William Hooper, on behalf of the American Graphite Co., devised the machinery that gave America its first graphite ore concentrating process: and Dr. Francis F. Field and William D. Curtis independently developed processes for the refinement of "crude natural chalk: into America's finest chalkboard crayons. Among all the other amazing inventions and processes created by Joseph Dixon himself were his use of lithography, artistic pencil drawings, drawing competitions, and public demonstrations in the advertising and marketing of his main product, graphite.
The never-ending quest for quality raw materials advanced the company's interests around the world. Around 1870 the JDCC secured its own dedicated source of cedar in Florida; the Dixon Mill was first located at Tampa and later at Crystal River. The company's search for graphite, its primary raw material, connects it with President Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire, America's leading pioneer geologists and scientists, the exotic ports of Ceylon and Madagascar, and the graphite mines of New York, Texas, Mexico and Germany.
The company's history is not without its personalities and passion. The Philadelphia to Lancaster Turnpike Road Company and the move for American manufactures both sprang from the inspiration of men such as Alexander Hamilton, Willimam Bingham, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, and John Nicholson. Joseph Dixon, a man of great distinction in his own right, was associated with such well-known and dynamic historical figures as George and Francis Peabody, Benjamin Silliman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Cyrus Alger, Samuel F. B. Morse and many others.
The incredible story - the incredible American heritage of the Dixon Ticonderoga Company - emerged as much more than a simple reporting of facts, figures, and events. Each facet of the company's disparate development was based upon one simple principal: Best of Its Kind. When the turnpike roads were planned and constructed, the best route, the best materials, and the best means of construction possible were implemented. When Joseph Dixon strove to produce his graphite crucibles, only the best clay, the best graphite, and the best workmen could get the job done. When Dr. Field and William D. Curtis created their chalkboard crayons, only the best naturally chalk and the best processes would do. When Louis Prang sought to replace European water color paints with a domestic product, only the very best manufacturer - the American Crayon Company - could meet his standards. In fact, this one theme - Best of Its Kind - both directly and indirectly, persists throughout the Dixon Ticonderoga Company story. The Dixon Ticonderoga Company has emerged through being the very Best of Its Kind.