Pencils have changed very little over the years, at least in their
outward appearance. They are still the same length as they have always
been, give or take the presence of an eraser, and a pencil made 100
years ago could easily be mistaken for one made yesterday. Triangular
pencils are a big innovation then compared with all the years of
stability in outward design, and rather than being just a novelty item
they seem to be growing in popularity.
I am excited by these new triangular pencils – as excited as one can
get about pencils anyway. The shift from hexagonal shape to triangular
shape is a wonderful functional improvement, a major jump forward in
the slow evolution of pencil design, and it has me trying out a bunch
of new pencils.
I love the feel of a triangular pencil in my hand; it just fits so
much better. I also have issues with tendonitis from years of drawing,
so the improved ergonomics of the triangular shaped barrel is something
I really appreciate as well. From a geometric perspective the new
barrel shape, which I recently learned is not actually a triangle but a curve of constant width known as a Reuleaux Triangle.
The fact that this shape does not have a fixed center of rotation means
that triangular pencils don’t roll off your desk as easily as a
hexagonal pencil, which is another nice feature of the design.