Donald Trump was seen recently using a yellow No. 2 pencil aboard Air Force One. Since I happen to know the link between yellow pencils and the Russian Empire, I am calling for yet another special prosecutor to investigate this apparent breakdown in our national security.
Why, you might ask?
The story must begin with the basic question: Why are traditional pencils yellow? I mean, why not red or black or white? Of course, there ARE those color pencils, but when we stop to think about the everyday pencil, we might forget to ask ourselves: why yellow?
Is it because school buses are yellow? No. Is it because kids love the primary colors? No, again.
Turns out that the first pencil that we have come to know as the traditional No. 2 pencil, came from a company based in Austria, which in 1889 debuted their newest creation: a cedar-wood barreled writing instrument with lead made from a combination of clay and graphite, and which sported a bright yellow paint job. I saw one of those original pencils at a museum here in Oxford just this very day.
The company, Hardmuth (they are still around, by the way) figured, for whatever reason, that yellow was associated with luxury. Go figure. But in truth, the color was a nod to the Indian diamond, the Koh-I-Noor, that was, at the time, the largest diamond in the world. The diamond was then, and still is, part of the Crown Jewels of England.
Furthermore, the color choice (made by the marketing people, no doubt) was intended to evoke images of the still-mysterious Orient, and specifically to what was considered the best graphite in the world: Siberian graphite. Yes, Russian graphite!! Yellow and all-things-Oriental were colored yellow, it turns out.
Enter American capitalism, which sought to capitalize on the association between yellow and luxury. Pencils were painted yellow and for the most part, still are. Trump may not have had any choice when he asked his valet for a pencil. Still, given the Russian connection, I say, “bring in the special prosecutors!”
Next up? Why are school buses painted yellow?