Kids in the 1980s kept it sharp with stacking “pop-a-point” pencils, one of the biggest fads– outside of Trapper Keepers and scented markers– to hit the classrooms of soon-to-be Gen-Xers. Pop-a-point pencils came in a variety of forms, from regular ol’ graphite to colored pencil and crayon versions featuring all the basic colors. Some of them had a clear exterior, some were tinted. Some were glittery, others were opaque. Many a treasured pencil featured favorite characters of the time, from Rainbow Brite to Care Bears and Transformers.
The real appeal of the pop-a-point was that pencil sharpeners were never required, since all that was needed for a sharp new edge was to pull the first lead cartridge off the front, smoosh it into the hole at the back and voila, a new, sharp tip was ready to write that secret love note you never actually passed to your crush. No more messy shavings, no more trips to the back of the room to sharpen your pencil ever so slowly so that you could gawk at your beloved… OK, so maybe it was just the pull-and-smoosh action of the cartridges that made them so fun. Of course, they were probably the gateway pencil to the use of the fancier mechanical pencils. Once you go stack, you never go back!
If there ever was a downside to the pop-a-point pencil, it might be that we rarely used the ‘lead’ all the way down, wasting much of it. Not to mention the fact that point pencils didn’t usually come with their own eraser (unless it was located in the cap.) Many a forgetful moment was spent accidentally scraping papers with a plastic end. Thankfully, a bevvy of different erasers could come to the rescue… but that’s another story.
Were pop-a-point pencils part of your school supply arsenal back in the day? Tell us all about it in our comments section as we remember these beloved writing utensils here at Retroland.