- Novelty Stocking Stuffer
- Spoke Design Mechanical Pencil Review
- Faber-Castell Alpha-matic and TK-Matic Mechanical Pencils
- Parker Itala Mechanical Pencil
- Social Slencil Mechanical Pencil
- Tropen Mechanical Pencil
- Tombow Zoom Espana
- Pelikan No 1 Mechanical Pencil
- Parafernalia Revolution Mechanical Pencil
- Kickstart A New Blog
- The Magnificent Seven
- Eversharp Dollar Mechanical Pencil Review
- Full Circle
- DMP 2011 Awards
- Wish List
- New Home
- Book Alert
- Cryptic Jeopardy
- Blog Holiday
- Mitsubishi Novelty Pencils
- Pantone Pencil and Notepad
- Koh-I-Noor 5608 Notebook Pencil
- Wörther Slight 1.18mm Mechanical Pencil Review
Santa usually leaves a few novelty item stocking stuffers for me, and this recent Christmas was no exception. Included this time was a pencil sharpener - Geppettos Pencil Sharpener - Made in China but the brainchild of Israeli design studio Monkey Business. Package, pencil + point protector, and Geppetto. The weighted base keeps Geppetto smily face up, even with a long nose. The sharpener works well, although the blade does not appear to be replaceable.
Well it has certainly been a long time between drinks, but here I am, just in time to post one last thing before the year end. I thank Spoke Design for the inspiration to burst into e-print once again.SPOKE DESIGN MECHANICAL PENCIL REVIEW I was alerted to the Spoke Design mechanical pencil project back in July this year, and a little while ago they very kindly sent me a freebie pencil. I really like the pencil, so heres a few pictures and words on it. I will not go into the detail of the mechanism etc as it is a Pentel Sharp P205 series mechanism fitted into a new aluminium body. Lead sleeve inserted into centre hole of tube stopper The Spoke Pencils self-adhesive label, pictured with the pencil stand or dock, and pencil. I chose the black pencil because thats a standard colour for me, but frankly it was a mistake. The spoke cut-outs in the body allow you to see the internal lead reservoir tube of the pencil, but it too is black, and so with black on black you loose a great visual effect. Check out the gallery at Spoke Pencils to see what I mean. Having said that, black is always in fashion, and the Spoke Pencil is a class act. The Spoke Mechanical Pencil - definitely one to help the thought process.
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - THE FINAL SHOWDOWN FABER-CASTELL ALPHA-MATIC AND TK-MATIC _by __Pencil Paul_ Well I have left the best till last, these are my all time favorites. I wanted to show the alpha range, so here we have I feel the finest mechanical pencils available. The sheer quality of manufacture becomes immediately apparent as soon as you handle these pencils. The silver TK-matic shown was purchased in 1980, the year of inception to the German market and it has worked flawlessly for me throughout all the years of sweated magazine print deadlines, rattling around in the bottom of a brief case, running for the train in rush hour, bomb threats, 3 day weeks, power outs, being dropped and borrowed! In fact the whole gamut of working life in a busy London studio. It has never missed a beat or fluffed a line, this pencil deserves a medal for outstanding devotion to duty! It is the only true draughting pencil in The Magnificent Seven, having a lead sleeve for use with rulers etc, and was often used with blue 0.5 lead for print proof marking up, a job that is now of course done on screen. The pencil itself is a solid, reliable heavyweight, that is made from stainless steel with the cunning auto lead advance feature, which is shared by all pencils shown here. As you write/draw the lead advances according to usage, you dont have to worry about leads till fitting a new one, which is just a question of pumping the cap button till one appears at the point. The cap is removable to access the small eraser with cleaning wire which I have never had to use, and the lead store below within the body. The knurled grip is superbly positioned and I feel the whole mass and ample weight of the pencils 26gams improves accuracy and control. The other pencils shown here have been acquired along the way from various sources. These are all general use mechanical pencils in the alpha-matic range, lacking the drafting sleeve. Again the build quality is top class and they range in finish from the maroon red plastic, to the charmingly named Bronce and to the most expensive Titanium almost black finish. All are equally fine and able pencils. I would recommend anyone wanting the best in an 0.5mm pencil to seek out any one of these superb examples of German excellence. Was it Oscar Wilde who sated that "one never regrets purchasing quality"? Faber-Castell Alpha-matic and TK-matic Mechanical Pencils Paul - Thanks very much for showing these fantastic pencils from your collection. Perhaps after some rest at the saloon and bunk house The Magnificent Seven may ride again? _ _Dave._
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - PART 6 PARKER ITALA MECHANICAL PENCIL _by Pencil Paul_ The Parker Itala - a wasted opportunity. The pencil and matching pens were designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro for Parker in 1983, as prototypes. There was an absolute meltdown by Mr Parker Sr himself when he discovered that the pens were designed to be disposable, a disposable Parker... Blasphemy! So the president of the writing instruments group who was developing these items was fired, and the pen versions never went into production, and the pencil is quite a rare item. If you find one for sale buy it. The pencil shown here is by far the lightest in all my pencil reviews, at around 7g in weight. It consists of a very simple set of 4 plastic castings - nose/body, top/clip, plug with eraser, and a cap with a hole in to show the top of eraser, all in textured easy-grip with polished highlights. There is also a tiny metal lead sleeve so its technically a drafting pencil. This must have been a very cheap item to manufacture and assemble, yet it possesses all the grace of its Italian lineage and is a superb shape in the hand. Coupled with the extreme light weight this makes for perfectly tireless writing/drawing. Sporting 0.5mm leads filled from the plug opening and push button lead advance this has to be rated as a superb first design for Giorgetto Giugiaro. Apart from the Parker Itala molded branding on the pencil there is also the very clever graphic device printed in white referencing the original Parker fountain pen arrow clip design. On seeing this one immediately thinks Parker. To sum up, a great design for a whole writing set, ballpoint pen, felt tip, and pencil range abandoned by backward thinking on the part of senior management. This is a design as fresh and strong now as it was in the 1980s. Warranting re-introduction this time around with proper support and encouragement. Parker Itala Mechanical Pencil
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - PART 5 THE SOCIAL SLENCIL MECHANICAL PENCIL _by Pencil Paul_ The SOCIAL SLENCIL, mechanical pencil invention and lifelong work of Carl C Harris. The pencil shown is a recent introduction to the Slencil line for me. I could not resist the central lead advance wheel coupled with the slightly Buck Rogers styling. The first models were introduced in 1933 and named the Stag, my pencil as shown is the later Social Slencil, copyright shows 1945 on the paperwork. Running alongside the pencil range were companion slim notepads also produced by The Slencil Company of Orange, Mass, U.S.A, and when you consider the bulk and fuss of carrying a fountain pen and address book of the period it all makes very good sense - a place to record the date of the Pony Club Diner & Dance or a swift note home to the folks from the front line. The super little Social Slencil, the way to take notes long before the advent of the personal electronic PA, barely 115mm long and approx. 2mm thick! The pencil is loaded by inserting 1mm lead into the nose point and pressing it into the clutch mechanism, then it can be adjusted by means of the centre wheel. The eraser is inside the end removable cap along with storage space for spare leads. That this tiny item of engineering was a success is born out by the fact that the company is still going strong producing new plastic versions of TOMORROWS PENCIL. Social Slencil Mechanical Pencil
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - PART 4 TROPEN MECHANICAL PENCIL _by Pencil Paul_ Despite the ravages and destruction of war, the German pen industry of the early 1950s still boasted many many pen makers both large and small, and among them was a company called Tropen. They produced an huge selection of items from fountain pens and stylographs, to the humble mechanical pencil. The post 1930s offerings all seem to share a common Art Deco design theme, which is what attracted me initially to this company. I have a couple of the 1.2mm lead pencils, they are loaded by unscrewing the barrel halves and filling the bottom half with short leads, advancing the lead is achieved by rotating the nose. Finish is a plain colour usually gloss black with gold plated/washed trim, the nose being brass. Top of the line fountain pens had GF trim, plus excellent solid gold nibs. The grey pencil shown is inscribed Made in Germany suggesting that it is of pre-war manufacture. As with most things German and mechanical they have an innate sense of quality about them and work simply and flawlessly, that aspect along with the sharp deco looks offer a very affordable and usable collectable. A large number of vintage Tropen items are still available on certain websites today. The Tropen company along with many other German manufacturers disappeared in the mid 1950s victims of changing times and taste, and the rise of that ultra modern invention the ballpoint pen. Tropen Mechanical Pencil
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - PART 3 TOMBOW ZOOM ESPANA MECHANICAL PENCIL _by Pencil Paul_ This has to be one of my all time favorite Japanese pencils, again a 0.5 mechanical pencil. For me 0.5 is almost a default setting for pencils, this stems from my career as a graphic design editor. When I started out people actually used pencils in the work place and a tablet was something one took for a headache. Back to the business in hand, this is a beautifully built and finished push button lead advance pencil, with no other tricks up its sleeve, believe me it doesnt need any. Very light in weight therefore effortless even on the long haul, aluminum construction with some cast metal parts. The grip for instance is cast metal and provides just the right amount of holding power showing what can be achieved without recourse to rubber, which I find always breaks up or melts in your hand like in those chocolate ads. The top button is removed by a gentle tug revealing the lead chamber. This thin end is too slight to carry an eraser. Meanwhile down at the front this could almost qualify as a drafting pencil as it does have a short lead sleeve. Not an easy pencil to carry as there is no clip and the lead has to be persuaded back from whence it came by pressing nose down while pressing the advance button - much more civilized to transport it in its own smart maroon red tin. To sum up a lovely writing/drawing instrument both to use and to admire. If you see one on sale, buy it you will not be disappointed. Tombow Zoom Espana Mechanical Pencil
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - PART 2 PELIKAN NO 1 MECHANICAL PENCIL _By Pencil Paul_ The Pelikan No.1 pencil designed by Luigi Colani, a brave move by Pelikan at the time of its introduction in the 1980s. Produced in collaboration with the Swiss born designer Professor Luigi Colani, the pencil and pen share the same molded one piece body with integrated clip, a very clever and practical item in use. The side button in black advances the 0.5 lead, is very comfortable in the hand, and easy to pocket clip. Unusually the leads are fed into the open nozzle end as the rest of the pencil is a sealed unit The pencil is shown with its usual black plastic packaging, from which it is hatching. Packaging also by Colani. The bone white colour is the most common, however there are several others and if you have a spare arm and a leg they can still be purchased from some online sites. I would strongly encourage all interested in this design to visit the online Colani Design Museum. In his career spanning over 50 years, and still going strong, he has designed over 5,000 industrial and consumer products. I also show the pen variant to illustrate the Shark in a tank packaging. I wonder if this influenced Damien Hurst? Pelikan No. 1 Mechanical Pencil
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN - PART 1 PARAFERNALIA REVOLUTION MECHANICAL PENCIL _By Pencil Paul_ We will start this Mini-review series of some of my favorite pencils with an Italian product. Parafernalia has been making cutting edge writing machines for many years, I have a Black Fountain pen styled by design guru Pininfarina for this company in the 1980s. Back to the item in hand, the pencil is supplied in a simple cardboard box, however inside you find the pencil defying gravity on its very own wooden wall of death display as if in its own little art gallery perhaps. On to the actual pencil, this is a design recalling the age of exposure, think the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Lloyds building by Richard Rodgers in London, and of course the Dyson Cyclone, never has dust been so exciting! It was a time when designers and architects let it all hang out showing the guts of an object was the was the way to go. In this case the pencil works superbly well. In theory one can unscrew the 3 chrome boosters and completely disassemble the pencil, however I have never felt that brave. Construction and finish are immaculate on this 0.5 push button lead advance pencil, also it is remarkably comfortable in use as I find my steering finger sits right at the base of the tri-section and has a firm grip against the black central lead chamber. No room for an eraser on board this rocket! The pocket clip with ubiquitous rubber ball end, works after a fashion, though I feel this is a desk item ready for all who glimpse this pencil to be intrigued. Parafernalia Revolution Mechanical Pencil Parafernalia Revolution Mechanical Pencil
Ive recently received two communications that Ill pass on. First a new blog that might interest you. Drafting and Mechanical Pencils by Vittorio from Italy. Second, a new project on Kickstarter. Let me be clear - I am in no way whatsoever associated with this project, but it looks interesting. Heres the main part of the email I received from the project _"I see on your blog that you are a fan of Pentel P200 series pencils. I just started a Kickstarter project called Spoke Pencil...a CNC machined aluminum housing utilizing the P200 series mechanism. You can check it out at: __http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/690647277/spoke-mechanical-pencil__"_
Starting soon, for each of the next seven weeks I will be featuring a mechanical pencil from the collection of fellow New Zealander "Pencil Paul”. Pencil Paul originally hails from England but he emigrated to New Zealand. His home was very badly damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, but fortunately he, his family and his pencils all survived uninjured, and he now shares with us seven of his favourites, one per week. If any of you are overwhelmed and feel the need to make a donation, then Paul is desperate for an Eversharp Coronet pen+pencil set in GF.
EVERSHARP DOLLAR MECHANICAL PENCIL REVIEW Many years ago I did a silly thing. I visited the “Website That Must Not Be Mentioned”… I didn’t have adult supervision… I was quickly ensnared. When I finally escaped I had gained a very nice mechanical pencil, but I soon regretted "the arm and a leg” it had cost me. Years have now passed, my arm has regenerated, and so now I can write a little review of the pencil in question. Its all in the eye of the beholder It’s a very nice pencil. It was sold to me as an “Eversharp Model 4112TC Jade Green mechanical pencil, from the 1932 catalogue”. In Jonathan Valeys recently published “The Catalogue of American Mechanical Pencils” it appears on page 64 in sub-section 12 "Eversharp Dollar Pencils 1927-1935" and according to the text it would have been produced in the early 1930’s and was described in the Eversharp catalogues as a “popular priced” line, hence the Dollar Pencils terminology. Conway Stewart Nippy No 3, although that’s perhaps not a fair comparison given the difference in time and price between the two.
There’s an old saying, “All roads lead to Rome”. Well for me it seems “All graphite trails lead to Southern Illinois University” I live a quarter of a world away from SIU Carbondale, but it seems I am somehow inexorably linked to it. Back in the days when a penfriend necessitated pencil and postage stamps, I had one, and as the years rolled by she ended up at her local college…SIU (before moving onto Boise and poll-dancing, but that’s another story). Then my first contact with internet pencildom came via that leading beacon of graphite, Pencil Revolution, based at…SIU Carbondale. One aspect of this blog I have really enjoyed is contact with other people from far away places. Recently an MP user contacted me for a bit of advice, and later, as a thank you, offered to send me a few promotional items from their business. Guess where they are based…yep, Carbondale…and they have an association with SIU. So, here I am, inspired to actually post something on this blog for the first time in a very long time. You might say this blog sort of started due to SIU and has sort of been re-started by SIU. To say thanks for the promotional items they sent my way, and acknowledge the role of SIU, here’s a little free advert for Little River Research & Design. Remember folks, if you are in the market for some river simulation, some fluvial geomorphology in a box, then Little River is the place for you! Here’s a link to a video about the Emriver river process modelling…in a box. Cool. I like those little rivers. Oh, and heres the goodies they sent me. Littel River Research & Design cotton carry bag and cap Emriver - its fluvial geomorpholgy made even more fun!
Official SIU Salukis Team Merchandise.
Left = new, right = 25+ years ago
Appears there has been some shrinkage...I certainly havent changed!
Well, 2011 is nearly over, and despite my recent lack of activity I thought I should make an effort for the 4th annual DMP Awards...but not too much effort! So, there is only going to the one announcement, the supreme award, the “Mordan-Hayakawa Trophy” for the best mechanical pencil (or item) of the year. So, without further to do, the winner is...drumroll...Tombow Mono Stick Eraser. Insanely useful. Enough said. Time to go now, good luck for the end of year holidays, etc. Ill see you all in 2012.
The Christmas holiday season is fast approaching for me, and a reader has suggested a _"What pencil would you chose for Christmas money no object competition? survey? thing?"_ Thats seemed like a worthwhile idea, so, if money and availability were no object, what mechanical pencil would you wish for? Remember, availabilty is not a problem - you can wish for discontinued and vintage items. Just because money is no object, dont feel compelled to go all diamond encrusted solid gold on me, not that theres anything wrong with that, but maybe a 1930 plastic Eversharp would complete your collection, or that MP you had when you first started school?
A few folk wanted to see the collections new home, so here it is - The Lamys and loose pencils are stored mostly in these plastic paper filing drawer sets. In side each drawer I have folded up paper inserts (acid free paper, archival grade glue, etc) to organise the contents. Again storing by brand. One of several Pentel trays Trays are double layered and can easily be taken out. Basically Ive still got to re-box things, but then its pretty much done.
I have been silent for a long time now. I would like to say that the rest has refreshed me, and that my muse has returned, but it hasn’t. However, I get occasional flashes of inspiration, like last weekend when I was moving the collection to its new home in a nice big storage cupboard. I was rearranging the Lamys, Rotrings and a few others and was struck by the variety of boxes they used. Perhaps they are not so important to many collectors, but I’m sure for many people who are buying a writing instrument above the everyday price range, then a nice presentation package or box is part of the decision making process, particularly if it is a gift. From some catalogues I have, it seems that most writing instrument sellers have a standard range of packages and boxes, and within reason retailers have some choices to do some mix and match of boxes, particularly within the business ranges offered to corporate gift buyers. So, here’s a quick selection of packages from my Lamy collection. Lamy are a company who pride themselves on design and innovation, and some, though not all, of their packaging matches that.
New Zealand 8 - France 7
Some of you will have previously visited Jonathan Veley’s pencil museum (link in the sidebar). Well, Jonathan recently contacted me to tell me his book on American Pencils will soon be published. You can see some details about the book on and sign up for a copy on his website. While there, do visit the mechanical pencil museum, and take a look at that opening image. Bow down in wonder and awe! All Hail the Wall of Pencils!
Well, a big international event is coming soon to my hometown and country, so heres a little brain-teaser for you. Kind of a cryptic Jeopardy. Instead of a normal Jeopardy where I give you the answer and you guess the question, the pictures are a clue to the answer. So, what then is the question?
Hello Folks Well I write this with some trepidation, but my muse has deserted me. Gone. It happened around the time of my 5th Birthday celebrations. Suddenly it sort of hit me...5 years of nearly twice weekly blogging...I just sort of felt like Id reached the finish line of the marathon, the race was over, I was drained. I have struggled on since then, but as is usual around this time of year I am soon going on vacation and would have put the blog on hold for a while anyway, so I think its time to come clean and try taking an honest break from blogging for a while in the hope that a little RnR will recharge my batteries and that Ill be back as good as new in a couple of months or so. My interest in MPs is unaffected, just my ability to convert that into blogging. I have got a couple of articles half started, so if a burst of enthusiasm strikes I may finish something and publish it, but in general dont expect to see anything new on this blog for the next 6 - 8 weeks or so. In a few days I will turn commenting off. Thanks for reading this blog, and I hope you will continue to do so when I return. Ka kite ano, and Ill see you in a while!
Fantastic Sharp - Pretty flowers are perfumed in your room. LOVELINESS - Shes kind of a friend of mine.
I seem to be tripping across more and more Pantone stationery these days. It’s certainly not commonplace, but it’s not exactly uncommon either. Do you ever see any Pantone products in your part of the world? Early this year I was in an upmarket booksellers store and they had a rather large selection of good quality writing instruments and stationery including a lot of Pantone products. In one of those bizarre coincidences, the very next day the postie delivered a present from my friend Kent in Korea…Ta-dah!! Pantone Universe mechanical pencil and notepad I quite like the marketing ploy of numbering the products with their Pantone colour number. In this case the yellow mechanical pencil and notepad are colour 13-1746 “Maize”. For a proper colour swatch (well as accurate as your screen can display it) you can go here. Not the greatest of colour matches between pencil and notepad The mechanical pencil is nothing flash. In fact it surprises me Pantone haven’t gone for something of better design and quality. I’m not saying it’s a bad pencil, just to me it doesn’t fit with the price point and the market niche they appear to be aiming at. For the record it is a push top ratchet 0.5mm mechanical pencil with retractable sliding sleeve conical tip. The sticker on it states “Made in Japan”. I might not be that impressed with the pencil, but I am impressed with the notepad. It is A6 sized with 100 sheets of lined paper. The Pantone Universe branding is rather subtly marked onto the cover by a difference in the gloss level. Nice.
From far away, and an embarrasingly long time ago, a parcel arrived in my letterbox. Amongst the contents was this interesting little fellow. The Koh-I-Noor 5608 Notebook 2mm mechanical pencil.
_Here we have the last of the feedback from the Dave Turns Five Giveaways. The Grand Finale Prize, a shopping spree at __Cult Pens__ to the value of £150 was won by "Stell" and here now is an article she has sent in about her prize. So, over to Stell._ REVIEW OF WöRTHER SLIGHT 1.18MM MECHANICAL PENCIL 130mm long, 9mm diameter, 18g, Price Range - Mid/High Disclosure : this pencil was part of a prize in the celebrations of Dave’s Mechanical Pencil Blog turning Five. Wörther website which lists some lovely pencil products. That site was enough to make me wish for an executive desk on which to display such things. But what about the pencil? Well the first visual impression is that it is a classic pencil shape, hexagonal with a sharp taper at the writing end just like a wood cased pencil. Picking up the pencil there is a sense of weight, of quality; the pencil is metal and weighty, at 18g. My heavier vintage fountain pens weigh in at between 19.4 and 24 g, and a wood cased Faber-Castell 6B at 5g. The Wörther Slight feels substantial, cool to the touch, smooth and heavy, but is of course much thicker than a wood cased pencil, at 9mm diameter is more like a fountain pen, or significant ballpoint/roller ball pen. The Wörther Slight is available in two finishes, Aluminium and Black. I ordered the Black with some slight apprehension about the matt black marking with finger smudges, but after several weeks of constant use there are no noticeable smears or marks. Unlike many mechanical pencils there is no special grip section or grip area. You can hold the pencil anywhere that suits you best, if anything the pencil is too smooth, initially the cool metal finish felt very smooth, almost slippery, but after using the pencil for a few weeks I realised that even though it felt slippery it wasn’t. This is a sleek pencil, with no pocket clip. Many pencils have pocket clips to prevent them rolling off a desk, as well as to clip them to pockets, but as this is a hexagonal pencil there is no risk of desk roll. I don’t clip pens and pencils to my self, in the past I have even amputated clips from some cheaper plastic pens and pencils because I disliked the way the clip interrupts the design. The lack of a pocket clip was something I liked about the Wörther (YMMV). The balance point is 65mm from the tip, exactly half way, making for a nicely secure feel in use. Knitknitfrog _Thanks Stella, a great read, and Im glad you enjoyed the fruits of your shopping spree. Stella also sent in this photo of the whole spree. Dave._ _here on Knit Knit Frog_