Stein, Lamy and two pencil museums (one real, one fake)

Today: another Seen In The Wild blog post, but this time with a twist: at the end there’s some Heard In The Wild…

Stein

The Stein in the title of this blog post is not linked to Stein bei Nürnberg, where Faber-Castell’s headquarter is. The first part of this blog post is about Rick Stein, a famous British TV chef. In his latest BBC series, he explores Mexico. As usual, he writes down recipes. In his series about China, he used a pencil, shown in a previous blog post. This time he used a Lamy Safari (open images in new tab for high resolution).

       

    

(Images © BBC)

Lamy

He’s not the only celebrity using affordable Lamy pens in public: Nick Hewer, from the UK version of The Apprentice does so, too. In reality, people using Lamys in public are a rare sight, at least where I live. I remember seeing someone from a British university (but who is not British) using a Lamy Safari Lime Green Fountain pen at an SAP course I attended in Ireland in 2008. In recent years I have (twice) seen Chinese students using Lamy Safaris at my University/employer. If I add it up I have to say that I’ve only seen Lamys being used three times, in the last ten years, on the British Isles, but all three times the user wasn’t British. Parker on the other hand… if I wanted to count Parkers I’ve seen in the wild, that would be a very high number.

Two Pencil Museums (One Real, One Fake)

Since we were talking Rick Stein and British TV: There seems to be this idea that museums, and most of all pencil museums, are very boring. This seems to be a recurring theme, especially in comedies and sitcoms.

Here’s an animated gif from a very recent episode of a TV show with Johnny Vegas: Home from Home.

(Image © BBC)

In another show of his, Travel Guides (episode Lake District, 2015) from ITV, there’s a conversation spoken in very ridiculing tone:

I can’t believe this is a museum on pencils.
Really.
This is the only pencil museum in the world.
Ha ha ha! No shit.
Back to the BBC. In episode Black Eye of the BBC comedy Coming of Age (2010) there’s even audience laughter to make sure the viewer understands that going to a pencil museum is a ridiculous thing sane people wouldn’t dream off.
Imagine all the lovely places I’ll be able to drive you.
Like the pencil museum! Ooh!
Imagine that, Jas. Pencil museum.
Wow. What a treat(!) (Audience laughs)
Let’s speed things up a bit: Movie Sightseers (2012)
Pencil Museum.
I know how much you wanted to see that(!).
In case you are wondering about the exclamation mark in brackets. In subtitles, at least in the UK, that’s a sign for irony or sarcasm.
..and back to the BBC. Grumpy Old Holidays (2006). Please don’t forget to imagine the ridiculing voice when you read this. The idea is no one would go there unless the weather is horrible.
I have something to do with the weather, I am the rain goddess. They always say to me, “The farmers will be so grateful.” And I say, “Fuck the farmers.”
The Keswick Pencil Museum in Keswick must have, you know, oh, they must
look out of the window every day at the Pencil Museum and go, “Look at that, you can see the isobars “huddling together, we’ve got five days of continuous rain and storms coming- ker-ching!” Because, God bless it, your first port of call on holiday wouldn’t be a pencil museum, would it, normally?
There are hundreds of lovely rainy day attractions and activities like this to immerse yourself in.
It’s not like it’s just pencils. It’s different coloured pencils. It’s different sized pencils. Pencils you can pencil with, even.
Well, I enjoyed my trip to the pencil museum, read more about it in this 2012 blog post. This ‘making fun of the pencil museum’ isn’t new, last year I mentioned an occurrence that happened on BBC radio.

..but now people even invent fake pencil museums to make fun of when they are in a place without a pencil museum. In this case Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. For their Amazon show The Grand Tour they were in Luzern in Switzerland. They need a museum that incorporates boredom while they visit a chess museum so they pretend there’s a pencil museum near Luzern. The point in this episode is that no one would go there, but the museum supposedly has a charging point for Richard Hammond’s electric car, that’s why he keeps dragging them to boring museums.

(Image © W. Chump & Sons / Amazon Studios)

(Image © W. Chump & Sons / Amazon Studios)

Well, let’s end on a positive note: Keith Houston, the author of Shady Characters (2013) had his recent book The Book: A Cover-to-cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time presented as Radio 4’s book of the week. For the next few weeks, you can listen to all episodes online at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b2hr55.

Well, the BBC is a multifaceted being and while one part makes fun of boring things another one makes fun of boring things as well but supports them. In this case James Ward’s series The Boring Talks. You can find more about James Ward in these previous blog posts.


The image in this blog post has been taken from different sources, as attributed under the images. I believe that the use of the images shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.


Staedtler’s new Wopex pencils: the 2B – 2H Noris eco 2

The new 2017 Noris eco (on the right) is capped

This blog had quite a few Wopex related blog posts over the years – and here’s the latest one: about the new generation of Wopex pencils. This is the third generation I know of, but there might have been more.

Previously… on Bleistift.blog

I got the sheet from the 2010 blog post out and added the new 2017 grades.

Just a quick reminder. Staedtler introduced the Wopex (pencil) in 2009 – it’s an extruded pencil and its body is made from a wood-plastic-composite (which consists of more wood than plastic). In 2010 Staedtler introduced the Wopex in 2B and 2H. I had a closer look at the 2B and 2H version in a 2010 blog post and couldn’t find much difference between the 2B, HB and 2H version. Fast forward to 2016. By now Staedtler is using the term Wopex only to describe the material used to make these pencils. Wopex is not used anymore as a name for the pencil itself – at least not by Staedtler. At the Insights X 2016, they had a few prototypes of the new ‘Wopex material’ Noris eco in 2H, H, HB, B and 2B.  At the Insights X 2017, they showed the final product.

Close up of the 2010 vs. 2017 comparison

The new 2017 Noris eco

Looks

The design of the Noris eco is clearly inspired by Staedtler’s European staple pencil, the Noris, but like other Wopex material pencils, the surface of the extruded Noris eco feels rubberised. It is also eco-green, but has the same black stripe pattern as the yellow Noris or the red Tradition: The two opposing, labelled sides (let’s call them top and bottom) of this hexagonal pencil are black. The four sides (let’s call them the two right and the two left sides) are green with a think black stripe in between. I am mentioning this because some of the prototypes had a different pattern.

Unlike previous Wopex material pencils, the new Noris eco has a cap. It’s cool, man.

Watch on YouTube for high definition.

Performance

Great news. There’s a proper difference between the different grades in the new 2017 version. In terms of darkness and in terms of point retention. Compared to the Mars Lumograph in 2B, which is a very easy to erase pencil, the new Noris eco in 2B is more difficult to erase.

Eraser test – the bottom right square has been erased

If you see them in a shop I urge you to give them a try.

The pellets before they’re extruded into a pencil. From the Wopex sharpener blog post.

In case you can’t get enough of the Wopex. Here are some links:

2009: The world’s first blog post about the Wopex (Lexikaliker, in German)

2010: Staedtler WOPEX pencil review (Pencil Talk)

2012: Pencil Review: Staedtler Wopex HB Pencil (East…West…Everywhere)

2012: Staedtler Wopex Pencil (The Well-Appointed Desk)

I think the Pen Addict never had a Wopex review. If he did please let me know.

Some more post-2012 Wopex reviews can be found at Pencil Revolution, Comfortable Shoes Studio, The Weekly Pencil, The Finer Point, Pens Paper Pencils, Office Geek, Scribomechanica.

At the top, you can see the alternative black and green Wopex pattern. A picture from the ‘epic fail’ blog post.

 


I would like to thank Benedikt Schindler for his help in getting me the new 2017 Wopex. I still haven’t seen them on the high street in the UK.


L’Amy??? 2

Today: Just something I want to show. Something I come across again and again on eBay UK and eBay Germany. I assume other countries are ‘affected’, too.

Whoever set up the stationery categories on eBay seems to think Lamy is a French word – L’Amy..

When I first came across this I thought this is another brand, but it’s really supposed to be our Lamy.

I guess German surnames don’t normally end with a -y, but Lamy is based in Heidelberg and my relatives form Heidelberg also have a surname ending with -y.

 

Since I got your attention: Something else I came across – in my computer’s app store.

There seem to be more and more apps aimed at bullet journal users – and they seem to get more and more expensive. I neither use bullet journalling, nor do I normally buy expensive apps1 ..but nevertheless, I find this an interesting development.

  1. I’m not keen on the idea of getting used to an app and change the way I work only to discover the app has been cancelled and won’t be supported after an OS update. I guess even big companies are no guarantee an app will stay, small companies are even less of a guarantee. I remember moving from an mp3 player to an Android phone so that it’s easier to listen to podcasts, only for Google to cancel “Google Listen”, their podcast app. Or think of Pebble. Fitbit bought their intellectual property only, but the rest of the company went belly up, leaving customers in the rain. []

Pencil Blogs – Revolution Talk 2

Just a quick follow up from the last Pencil Blog Stats post.

I just thought I spell this out. Pencil Revolution and Pencil Talk have nearly the same number of posts.

Pencil Blogs - Revolution Talk

Pencil Blogs – Revolution Talk

If the post frequency of both blogs will remain the same as in the last few weeks then Pencil Revolution will soon overtake Pencil Talk in terms of blog posts published – probably this Summer


As always in this series: if the blog owner(s) contact(s) me and objects I will take this post about their pencil blog(s) offline, so there is a chance that some of these stats posts won’t stay.

To simplify the data collection the cut off point for this blog post was the end of the first quarter 2018.