The Pen Addict Podcast is 299 3

Oh, no. Another one of those blog posts about numbers 😜

The Pen Addict Podcast is 299. Episodes old, that is. I happily remember back, listening to the first episode in 2012.

When the first episode came out I put it on a memory card so that could listen to it in my car stereo on a longer drive. I was driving to visit one of my students who was on a placement at the time. On the way there I thought to myself “This is great, but I doubt more than a handful of people would want to listen to this. I can’t see this lasting very long.”. (#myfirsttpa 😋)

Well, how wrong I was! Of course, I am referring to the second part of my sentence.

Back then, before the podcast, to me, Brad Dowdy was ‘the friendly blogger who puts his pictures on Flickr’. Every time I had contact with him he was extremely friendly and not many bloggers had their photos on Flickr. These days I think of him as the most influential stationery blogger who helped to make liking stationery a bit more mainstream. I didn’t know Myke Hurley at all before episode one.

I felt quite honoured when Bleistift was the Pen Blog of the Week in episode 94. Funnily enough, this was because of an ink related blog post, but it still meant that pencils became one of the topics of this episode. The way I know this story (please correct me if you know better) is that a pencil blog being discussed on this episode made Tim Wasem think of starting a pencil podcast and he then talked (or chatted) to Andy Welfle. Together they then approached Johnny Gamber and within a few weeks, the Erasable Podcast was born.

In time for episode 300 I thought I have a closer look at some ‘statistics’. This information is based on the The Pen Addict Podcast page on, which is basically a query of the semantic data held in the wiki. Please feel free to contribute to the wiki. Everyone’s welcome there.

Let’s have a look at the plot. The x-axis (horizontal axis) is used for the dates of the episodes. The y-axis (vertical axis) is for the episode length in minutes.

Each dot represents an episode. Early episodes are on the left, recent episodes are on the right. Short episodes are on the bottom, long episodes are on the top.

The Pen Addict Podcasts, Date vs Duration

The Pen Addict Podcasts, Date vs Duration. Open in new tab for hi-res version.

The black line is a straight linear regression line. Looking at this line it seems that every year the episodes get around five minutes longer. If you like long episodes you can look forward to episode 1000. By that time episodes should be more than two hours long 😃.

The blue curve is a LOESS (local regression) curve, which is a bit more ‘flexible’ than the straight line. You can see that in the first two years, until the middle of 2014, episodes gained quite a bit in duration. Growth in duration then slowed down but picked up again since 2017.

Top tip: Why not celebrate the 300th episode when it comes out next week by sharpening a brand new pencil? ..or let others know about your first TPA episode (#myfirsttpa).

If you have just discovered  the Pen Addict Podcast recently: there are 295 hours to listen to so far. That’s more than 12 solid days.

As usual, the data and the code used for this plot are available on GitHub.

PS: I know my numbers posts are not very popular, so I’ve been holding off my series of blog post analysing pencil blogs for several years – but be warned, this series will start in the near future

I’d like to thank Alexander Kramer for allowing me to use his Brad and Myke colouring page picture in this blog post.

Cost Cut Copic Copies 2

Remember the Aldi Copic copies I mentioned two months ago? I checked every week whether they started lowering the price. Today I finally got lucky.

My local Aldi only lowered the price a bit, but after so many weeks of checking my desire to try them out got higher and higher and I couldn’t resist. I hope long term they’ll turn out to be as good as the real thing. My twenty year old Copics are still working well.

If you’re in the UK and after some cheap Copic alternatives this might be your chance.

Stationery Factlets #4: International Women’s Day Edition 1

Grace Scurr’s passport photo

So far Bleistift’s Stationery Factlets have covered stationery and a woman. No man yet. We wouldn’t want to change that on International Women’s Day, would we – so today’s factlet is about Grace Scurr (1894 – 1987).

She started working for Normal & Hill in 1921 as a temp / typist. Norman & Hill became what is now known as Filofax. The idea for the name Filofax, from ‘file of facts,’ came from Grace Scurr and she is also the one who saved the company after Norman & Hill’s offices were destroyed in the war: she had all supplier and customer data written down in her Filofax, which she took home every day1.

When she left the company in 1955 she was president and shareholder in the company.

There are more stories to tell about Filofax, but I’d like to keep the focus on Grace Scurr, so am stopping here.

Photo from Filomaniac, copyright unknown, possibly expired. I believe that the use of the images shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

  1. Depending how the data is organised this kind of behaviour might get you into trouble when the GDPR comes into effect in May 2018. []

This and that (hexagonal cedar eraser edition)

A parcel from Japan

Last month Tombow released a new eraser (Japanese announcement, Google translation). It’s quite similar to an old, familiar friend, the Staedtler Mars plastic, but with a Tombow Mono inside. The eraser stick has a diameter of 6.7 mm and a length of 100 mm.

Tombow’s new Mono Stick and Staedtler’s Mars plastic

Tombow isn’t the only company with new erasers. Look at this special eraser from Seed. Seed’s Radar is one of their famous erasers. This version has a sleeve made from 300 year old cedar wood.

Cedar Seed

Here it is again, next to some other Seed erasers.

Comparison: different Seed erasers

Since we are talking about Japanese erasers: in case you were wondering about the symbols you can find on them: have a look at this document from JEMA, the Japan Eraser Manufacturers Association (Google Translation). It also contains explanations regarding testing.

from the JEMA document (Image © JEMA)

I also noticed the Orenznero, discussed previously, in the Bun2 magazine… well as a nice sharpener and organiser from Nakabayashi. There’s an automatic (~£28; $39, €31) and a manual version (~£9; $13; €10) of the Pacatto sharpener.

The Stationery King1 did of course have several appearances, too).

…and now for something completely different. I dare to include it because it has hexagonal in the title: Hexagonal Phase.

The computer animations from the TV series were actually hand drawn.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is back. The Original Cast of the Original Radio 4 Radio Comedy in new episodes, written by written by Eoin Colfer.

Image © BBC Radio 4


I would like to thank Yumiko for the nice parcel and Gunther and Sola for the additional information.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy images in this blog post are from the BBC series of the same name. I believe that the use of the image shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

  1. Sean rightly wonders whether he shouldn’t be the emperor of stationery. []

Kokuyo Harinacs Stapleless Staplers 4

I’ve been using stapleless staplers for quite a while and have a clear favourite, but in this blog, I didn’t really give them the attention they deserve. It’s time to change that with this blog post.

Kokuyo Harinacs stapleless staplers

My most commonly used stapleless staplers are from Kokuyo / Harinacs. You can see them in the photo above. Kokuyo itself is a Japanese company that can trace its root back to 1905. They are linked with many companies and brands… not only with Harinacs, also with Camlin, the Indian pencil manufacturer, and with Gambol – you can see Kokuyo Gambol paper in this recent blog post.

Kokuyo Harinacs stapleless stapler

This green stapler, also available in other colours, is the SLN-MSH110G. It can staple up to ten sheets. When I bought it several years ago it was £7.73, but these days you can get it for £6.14 in the UK and for $8.37 in the USA.
Kokuyo Harinacs stapleless stapler

This white stapler, however, is my favourite. A few years ago I paid £9.79 for mine. It also got cheaper. It’s now £7.20 in the UK and $9.25 in the USA. It can only hold five pages, but they are crimped together, so it doesn’t look that bad if they somehow get detached.

To watch the video about the staplers in 4K please open it in YouTube.