General Question

Evan's avatar

What's the history of the China Marker's name?

Asked by Evan (805points) August 25th, 2008

Why is a china marker called a “china marker” (or a chinagraph pencil, in the UK and Europe)? I have read that perhaps it was because they were originally designed to write on china, which of course is from china, but have not been able to find anything substantiating that information. Any info?

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4 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Yes, it is because they were designed to write on smooth surfaces such as glass or china.

From Pencil Things Info:

“This specialty pencil goes by many names – such as wax pencil, grease pencil, or china marker. It provides a good solution when you have to write or draw on a smooth surface to which most other writing tools do not adhere, such as glass, metal, polished stone, ceramics, plastic, and mylar. It is easily removed from such surfaces with a dry tissue.”

Seesul's avatar

To add to what Marina said, china markers preceded felt (flow) pens, and at that time, were the only things you could write on slicker surfaces with. Yes, there was life before felt pens, believe it or not. My mom used to label everything with them. Unlike a permanent felt pen, a china marker can be rubbed off, but stays on very well for the time that you want it to, so for many purposes, it is still a better choice, which is why you can still find them available.

marinelife's avatar

@Seesul Ah, the good old days. They didn’t smell the way markers either.

Seesul's avatar

…but we had to get used to the fact that if you failed to re-cap, they were a total loss.

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