Pop-a-Point Pencils

Pop a Point pencils

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.

4 Responses to “Pop-a-Point Pencils”

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  1. stephanie says:

    Gosh this was a treasure to come across! I remember these pencils like it was just yesterday. I loved them! I remember the numb feeling my fingers would get after using it for awhile, because there were no indentations along the side. I remember how after so many point changings, sometimes the top cap would come loose and they would all fall on the floor in an embarressing way, and you’d pick up what you could but couldn’t find the last one, so then you couldn’t use the pencil because they’d slide up in the pencil… I also remember trying to erase, forgetting that ,alas, there was no eraser, and someone would snicker if they saw ya in “mid erase mode”…

    Today, while searching through all the sorts of nostalgia that I could remember (scratch and sniff, trapper keepers, cool erasers, pencil toppers, and that awesome pencil sharpener that had a little globe on it), I saw a picture of my most favorite of all pop a point pencils… the sniff n smile version. Same pencil, same shape, but with strawberry pics on the side and scented on the pencil, AND an eraser… OMG i HAD THAT!!! I’ve tried goggling and ebaying and nothing comes up….only on a site about 80s sniff stickers did it show that little gem.

    I love sites like these…. takes you back to simpler times…times of making strange shaped notes, playground jump rope songs, trading stickers, strange teachers and the beloved pop a point pencil.

  2. Cody says:

    Wow, I remember these in elementary school. I’m almost 17 now… The bad thing about these was that if you lost *ONE* of those pieces, those little buggers were useless… Plus once you used them all, you just had to buy a new pencil. Still fond of them though

  3. MZ says:

    What were these called in the 1970s? That is when my brother and I first remember using them, but can’t think of what they were called.

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