Monday, May 14, 2018

Vintage Colored Pencils, Part 12: Empire Sunset Dual-Kolor

Sunset Dual-Kolor pencils

I admit I bought these purely for nostalgia.

It had been so many decades since I last saw Dual-Kolor pencils that I didn’t even know they were still part of my psyche. But as soon as I saw the thumbnail image on Etsy of their triple-striped barrels, I instantly recognized them from my childhood. They may very well have been my first colored pencils ever. I was endlessly impressed that each pencil had a different color on either end!

In particular, I remember an orange and green one that had a string tied around the middle; the other end of the string was attached to the kitchen telephone cord. My mom used it to jot notes and grocery lists with some kind of color code (I’m a color-coded notetaker too, so I obviously got that gene from her).

Made by the US pencil manufacturer Empire, Sunset Dual-Kolor pencils were probably considered more of a novelty than a high-quality product even back in the ‘60s. Now, with my vast familiarity with a huge number of colored pencil brands and obvious higher level of sophistication, I can confidently state that these are the coolest colored pencils I have ever owned – at age 6 or nearly 60. They are also among the worst colored pencils I have ever used. Dry, hard, practically unpigmented, they will remain in a vase where I can reminisce about the utter coolness of bicolored pencils.

A bouquet of nostalgia


  1. At last... someone else who remembers these! They were the only type of colored pencils available in my childhood, as I lived in a very rural county. I was an adult before I encountered even decent-quality scholastic colored pencils. Crayola colored pencils were a gift from the angels compared to these.

    BTW, Dick Blick now carries double-ended colored pencils from respectable brands. They don't tempt me, because how do you use an extender with these? But they have them.

    1. I'm happy to hear the Dual-Kolors are nostalgic for you, too!

  2. I had these pencils as a child, too! They sucked and put me off colored pencils for decades...until I discovered Prismacolor.

    1. Yes, they are nostalgic but quite terrible! Glad that colored pencil quality has gone up over the decades!


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