porte-crayon / portcrayon / pencil holder

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Trisia

Senior Member
Romanian
Hello,

I'm translating a text and am in need of some information.

The story is set sometime in the sixties or seventies, and it was written in the nineties, I think. It's about a girl who's written a composition for a school contest. Her grandmother is reading it, and begins making corrections with her pencil, that's set in a silver ______.

About the ____ part: I've been digging up information on the Internet, and it's something akin to a leadholder, but it holds the whole pencil (like this). I suppose it existed because back then people wouldn't throw their pencils away as soon as they used them a couple of times. "Pencil holder" doesn't seem to work, because I've only ever seen it used to mean a pot for storing pencils.

I did find "porte crayon" on several sites in English (I think this is exactly what I need, and it's silver, too). With help from a friend, I discovered that "portcrayon" was in several online dictionaries. My question is, keeping in mind the time of the story, what word(s) would you use for the object I've described, "porte-crayon", "portcrayon", or something different? And if you saw "porte-crayon" or "portcrayon", would you immediately understand what was meant?

Thank you. :)
 
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  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    It might be any "porte" in a storm, but I've never heard the term in English for a "pencil carrier.":)

    It is, of course, French, and if I didn't have a nodding acquaintance with the language, I would be totally mystified.
     

    Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    I would not understand what was meant. I think I would probably call that a "pencil holder" or something similar (even though I normally use that for a jar or can for storing pencils, as you say). I don't really have a word for these things.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Back in my low-tech youth, geeks had to have some kind of technology to covet and display to others. In elementary school it was the pencil case. Girls tended to go for the soft-sided bag and boys for the hard-sided plastic case.

    I would understand porte-crayon only because I've studied French. I wouldn't relate to it. A silver pencil case, though, would have been the ultimate status symbol in grade school. :)
     

    Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    Back in my low-tech youth, geeks had to have some kind of technology to covet and display to others. In elementary school it was the pencil case. Girls tended to go for the soft-sided bag and boys for the hard-sided plastic case.
    Those are for holding your collection though. I think the original poster is looking for a word for some kind of pencil extender.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi Trisia

    I'd never heard "porte-crayon" before, but the OED confirms it's the technical term for what you're describing:
    Now hist.
    An instrument used to hold a pencil, lead, etc., for drawing, usually a metal tube split at the end and tightened by a sliding ring.
    [...]1979 C. HAYES Compl. Guide Painting & Drawing Techniques xiii. 172 The use of metal holders, called porte crayons, which resembled the modern propelling pencil. 1990 Independent (Nexis) 1 Dec. 32 Artists and craftsmen would chop the lead into thin strips which could then be wrapped in string or vine, or inserted into clawed holders known as porte-crayons.
    I guess it would work if the original term is technical, too. Otherwise, I'd be tempted to say simply "silver holder".
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Oh dear, that is a tricky one, Trish. I've never seen one of those jobbies before.
    If I was absolutely pushed to give it an English-name it would be pencil-holder ... followed by an explanation that I didn't mean 'pen pot' but 'a thing for holding pencil stubs'. (Perhaps pencil-stub-holder, though that's not very pretty.)

    As for the Frenchified terms: I think I'd be a bit nonplussed by portcrayon. Porte-crayon I would assume to be some kind of case or holder for storing pencils when not in use.
     

    Trisia

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Thank you, everyone.

    I like "silver holder". :)

    I'm very much tempted to go with the technical term, if only because the original was new to me too, and it looked like a techincal word people might have used long ago, but not anymore. But if everyone is so unfamiliar with it... :( I might have to go with something of the "holder" variety and hope it's understandable.
     

    Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    I do see some google image search hits for "pencil extender". If you want something modern-sounding, that might work.
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Is there some reason that "mechanical pencil" would be too modern? I'm with those whose first image was of a pencil case.
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Ah, I misunderstood. (Again. Today is not my day.) I thought this was a contraption for holding the lead. I not only misunderstood the description, I didn't understand the photo.

    Not a mechanical pencil. Sorry.
     

    Trisia

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Thanks! So the "French" version makes people think about pencil cases, not a holder.
    (A mechanical pencil is actually a modern leadholder, it doesn't hold pencils. Sorry that my explanation was unclear)

    The person using it is already a granny back in the sixties, I'm pretty sure it needs to be something oldfashioned. And I'm translating a literary text, so I'm doing my best to preserve the flavour of the original.

    I added portcrayon to the whole mess because it has an entry in Dictionary.com, unlike "porte-crayon", so I thought it might be easier to find. But I might have been wrong. :)
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Or...

    :idea:How about "set in a silver holder, a porte-crayon"?

    Too cumbersome? Yes, I thought as much:(
     

    johndot

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think the difficulty is that the 60s would have been witnessing the advent of the ‘cartridge’ both for pens and retractable pencils; full-length pencil leads stopped being manufactured about that time, didn’t they? Unless a graphic artist or draughtsman/woman knows of a term which is understandable to all, I would suggest ‘lead-dispenser’, ‘lead cartridge’, ‘lead protector’, or what about “the lead (or pencil) casing”?
     

    Trisia

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    I like it too. I don't find it especially cumbersome. I might say "in a silver holder, her porte-crayon" because it fits my sentence a little better, I think.

    Thank you so much, everyone. You're too kind. :)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I'm disappointed that the term "pencil holder" is no longer available for this piece of equipment. Such things were commonplace quite recently (when I was at primary school) and were just the thing for extending the useful life of a pencil.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    :idea:Another thought...

    If panj knows this gadget* as a "pencil-holder", then perhaps we could change the verb to make it clear that we're talking about a porte-crayon-type pencil-holder?

    Instead of "set", what about "clenched in a silver pencil-holder"?

    There may well be a better verb....
    _________
    (*Honestly, panj, I've never seen one:))
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Sorry, but doesn’t that recall the pencil-case allusion?
    Not for me, it doesn't...

    I think it's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

    But then I think Our Ewie is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I found an listing in a modern art supply company for a pencil holder that fits over the end of the pencil, like the one in Trisia's illustration, with this copy:
    Get more use out of each pencil! This marbleized pencil holder and lengthener has an elegant looking white/silver marbled handle for gripping the shortest pencils. SOURCE.
    It's classified as a "pencil accessory".
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Encased in a silver pencil holder ?

    The one I found is for wooden pencils while Cagey's seems to be designed for woodless (monolithic) pencils, but looks like it would work for woody (?) pencils and could be imagined in silver more easily than the, ahem, plastic one :).

    Just found - From Brittanica ... the use by artists of pieces of natural graphite, inserted in a porte-crayon (“pencil holder”), is not known before the 17th century.

    So, I like Ewie's better now! (As long as it's OK to use a woody pencil in one :) )
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Apologies Aunty Loob - I was editing while you were supporting my suggestion. I have re-re-thunk, and for the original question, and for reader clarity the "Encased in a silver pencil-holder " would be more readily imagined than the "porte-crayon".

    Sorry Ewie:D
     
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