Pencils


More Vietnamese Monos

The bottom of the box

This is just a quick follow up, linked to my previous blog post about Lexikaliker’s investigation into the Vietnamese Mono 100s1.

The familiar box…

The Vietnamese Mono…

If the Mono 100 is now made in Vietnam then it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Mono (without the 100) is now made in Vietnam, too.

You can see the Made in Vietnam blind stamp against the light (open in a new tab to see clearly)

..and the Dong-A Fable

I would have liked to compare the Japanese and Vietnamese Mono, but everywhere where I thought I’ve seen a non-100 Mono in our house it turned out to be the similarly looking Dong-A Fable2, a pencil that has made a few appearances on this blog since 2009.

The Tombow Mono and the Dong-A Fable

Mono’s history

Well, 1963 is not only the year Terry Farrell, Jadzia Dax in Deep Space Nine3, was born. It is also the year the Mono was released. It was ‘kind of’ a successor to the Homo, which was released in 1952, but wasn’t liked by Tombow anymore, or should I rather say: they didn’t like the name anymore, after the

‘diparaging slang-term “homo” became well-known in Japan’ (Tombow Pencil 100 Year History Project Committee, 2013:p.38).

Mono display from the 1960s. ¥60, seen on the display, was the original price, later lowered to ¥50. (Picture from Tombow)

In 1967, for Tombow’s 55th anniversary, the Mono 100 followed ..and two years later there was a Mono eraser, too. I don’t want to bore you with more details, but if you’re really interested, let me know in the comments and I’ll write up more when I have time.

Mono box from the 1960s (Picture from Tombow)

References

Tombow Pencil 100 Year History Project Committee. (2013) The 100 Year History of Tombow Pencil. Tokyo, Tombow Pencil Cp., Ltd.


I bought this dozen straight from Japan and paid just under £9, I think.

Unless otherwise stated pictures in my blog are taken by me. Well, this is one of those ‘otherwise stated’ occasions. The pictures marked as such are from Tombow’s book “The 100 Year History of Tombow Pencil”. In January 2015 Tombow Europe granted me permission to use them in blog posts.

  1. English translation here. []
  2. To me the Fable is more common than the Mono. A fate I probably share with very few people outside Korea. []
  3. I just had to add a Star Trek fact. []

Mysterious Mono 100s 7

Sean and Gunther are the detectives of the pencil world. While Sean has specialised in solving cold cases Gunther is investigating up-to-date issues.

In Gunther’s latest blog post (in German / automated English translation from Google here, from Bing here) he is having a closer look at the new Vietnamese made Tombow Mono 100s.

Mystery solved – thank you, Lexikaliker.

I support his hypothesis that the blind code on the pencils is in the format YYMM. I bought most of my Mono 100s in 2009 and the blind codes of my Monos start with 08 and 09.

In case you wonder about my photo: After some of the original occupants of my Mono 100 case moved out the remaining Monos invited the two Faber brothers to move in.

 


Staedtler’s Kakikata Pencils 3

 

If you’ve been reading pencil blogs for a while you’ve probably come across Kakikata pencils before. Gunther showed some beautiful ones on his blog, nearly ten years ago, and Stephen had some nice ones, too.

According to one JetPens product page Kakikata means ‘way of writing’. I can’t really comment, it’s now 20 years that I learned Japanese and I forgot virtually everything except the odd katakana ..but other sources seem to indicate that Kakikata means ‘how to write’, which seems to be a better translation, at least for the Staedtler Kakikata pencils I want to show today1.

 

They were released in December 2016 and are aimed at school children. An automatic translation of the text on the box also seems to confirm that they are for children (There are warnings like ‘don’t use for anything other than writing’, ‘please be careful when handling’ plus there are also instructions for parents.), as do some of the designs used, but the from what I have seen from the Staedtler Japan page they say adults can use them, too ;^)

Staedler’s Kakikata pencils are made from FSC certified wood in their factory in Thailand, where Staedtler’s Norica and other pencils are made, too. I found out that they are officially being sold in Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, China and Taiwan, but am not sure whether they will have a different packaging outside Japan, i.e. whether the box will be translated into the local language.

Boys’ toys

Girly

I love how the look of the wood has been integrated into the designs of these pencils, as a background to the motifs used. There are three different packs, all available in HB, B and 2B, with three different pencil designs in each pack. The blue pack (Aorimo あおいも) is boy-themed, the red one (Akaimo あかいも) is girl-themed and the green one (Midori みどり) seems fairly gender neutral.

 

As is common in Japan the pencils are unsharpened and since these are for children there’s also space to write the child’s name on.


Near the end the body is silver or gold stamped with the lead degree (HB, B or 2B) and unlike the Noris or the Mars Lumograph that have lacquer caps the end of this Kakikata pencil is not capped.

..with the 501 180 sharpener

Depending on where you buy it you pay somewhere between ¥700 and ¥900 (~$7, £6; €7) for a dozen.


You can find the original press release at this address, including the product numbers for they various colour and lead grade combinations. 
I would like to thank Claudia Förster for these pencils and for finding out in which countries they’re being sold.

Pencil Talk has even more Kakikata pencils than the ones linked to at the beginning of this blog post, and Jinnie has some, too.

If you want to have a look at a Kakikata felt tip pen have a look at Brad’s post.

The Staedtler sharpener form the last picture has been mentioned before and I’ve made a video review, but the blog post is still waiting to be finished.

There are also other unsharpened Staedtler pencils for the Japanese market. I have mentioned the Lumograph many times, so I’ll spare you the links to those videos and to Gunther’s blog post this time.

  1. I assume depending on context it can mean either. []

A bestselling Noris 4

Certainly well deserved: when visiting a WHSmith1 store recently I noticed that their Noris pencils got a little sign, indicating that they are the bestselling pencils.


As you might know I am partial to Staedtler’s Noris, so couldn’t resist adding this to my stream of Noris blog posts. Here’s a small selection of Noris blog posts to pick and choose: A digital NorisA broken Clarks NorisA different kind of Noris in the wildNeil Gaiman’s Noris pencilsNoris & CoShaun the Sheep’s NorisUpcycling with a NorisA Noris at the CricketA Finnish Noris…A French Noris…A Franken NorisA Franconian Noris,
Noris in the wildNoris shavingsNoris of the WoodsUncle Noris, and The Noris, then and now.

By the way, since we are on the topic of Staedtler anyway: they have a nice online Mandala creator on their website. The choice of patterns from different artists is amazing. 

  1. A British high street chain with a big stationery selection. []

A digital Noris 2

Staedtler’s Noris the pencil I have written about most in this blog1. No wonder, it is my favourite after all.

A Noris picture from a previous blog post to liven up this blog post

That’s why I am especially happy to hear that there will be a high-tech, digital Noris, the Noris digital stylus for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3, as reported today on several web pages  (Sam Mobile, The Verge, AnandTech). I won’t be getting one, as I had some less than stellar experience with Samsung in the past, but I am nevertheless happy that the Noris gets the attention it deserves by being adopted and adapted by one of the big players in the mobile industry.

Noris Digital (Image © Staedtler)

Noris Digital (Image © Staedtler)

The Noris digital will be available in classic Noris yellow and in Noris eco green. The exciting bit is that the Noris digital is made from Wopex material, just like the Noris eco.

The Noris eco in five grades – an image from an old blog post to make this one less boring

To look at the pencil being used in mainstream media over time have a look at the Noris in the Wild page.

The analogue Noris in comparison (an image from an old blog post to make this one less boring)

The name Noris is linked to the city of Nuremberg, where Staedtler is based. Staedtler has used the name Noris as a trademark since 1901, but the black and yellow striped look has only been used since the 1950s. Recently Staedtler has started rebranding their Wopex pencils as the Noris eco, with black and green stripes, similar to the original Noris. Looks like the latest addition to the series is the digital Noris. You can find out more about the Noris in this Stationery Wiki.

Please don’t sharpen the digital Noris with the Staedtler 501 180 sharpener you can see below, it’s only for the Noris eco (Wopex material).

  1. Have a quick search here for Noris to see some of the blog posts about this pencil. []