This post might be of interest if you live in the UK. Tesco does have a few Back to School offers at the moment, including Stabilo’s move easyergo mechanical pencil for only 87p (~$1.34, ~€1.05) ..but only for the right-handed version. The left-handed version is quite a bit more expensive (£3, ~$4.62, ~€3.64 ..does this count as left-handed discrimination?)
Over the past few weeks I have written posts about two different pencil cases: the Sonnenleder pencil case Berit and the Eberhard Faber Lederetui. Both are made from leather and price-wise both are somewhere in the middle (Berit: €36 / $45 / £29, Lederetui: €15 / $19 / £12). Today I want show what pencil cases are available at the more extreme ends of the price scale.
I have seen the expensive one I want to present today, the Prisme pencil case from Delvaux, in the posh Royal Galleries of Saint-Hubert in Brussels …on a recent trip to Belgium. Delvaux was founded in 1829 in Brussels and describes itself as ‘the oldest fine leather luxury goods company in the world’. This pencil case is available in two colours and will set you back € 140 (~$177, ~£115) …but you will own a pencil case with (the following is taken from their web site) a triangular profile that is pale Basane leather lined and has a double pen holder in leather stitched to the base. Furthermore the brass accessories have a a brushed palladium or brushed gilded finish.
In case you wonder… I did not buy one 🙂
On the other end of the spectrum we have cheap pencil cases, pre-filled with pencils, for children. On my last trip to Germany I saw that most of them sell for about €3 (~$3.80, ~£2.50). If you pay a bit less than €3 you can get a no name pencil case filled with ruler, eraser and lots of no name pencils. If you spent a few cents more you can get a much better one, like this 50 piece pencil case (article number 406-0) from Rheita, which I bought for less than €3.50. It includes colour pencils, rulers, an eraser, paper clips, a sharpener and ink cartridges (in Bavarian schools, possibly even in all German schools, children have to use fountain pens).
Compared to other German stationery companies Rheita, or Rheita-Krautkrämer, is one of the young’uns. Rheita’s history started in 1948, when the brothers Oswald and Fridolin Krautkrämer established “Rheingold-Tafel”, a company with more than 100 employees, manufacturing school writing slates made from slate and wood. The headquarters were near the river Rhein, hence the name. The company was later renamed Rhein-Tafel, which became RHEI-TA.
Prices: Delvaux – April 2010, Rheita – August 2010
Exchanges rates: August 2010
Items I saw there for the first time included paper and envelopes from Zerkall Ingres, mouldmade in a paper mill dating to the 16th century, and cotton/linen paper from Artesanos del Papel in Alicante.
One of the items I bought in this book shop is a paper clip from OHTO, a paper clip looking a bit like a picture frame hanger. The informal name seems to be Japan-Clip. It can hold 20 sheets of 80g paper. The standard clip is nickel-plated, selling for 20c each (25¢, 16p), the posh version for 50c (63¢, 41p) is 18K gold-plated.
The nice thing about these clips is that they still look good even if they hold many sheets of paper, while ordinary paper clips usually look unsightly if you squeeze too many sheets of paper in. On the other hand ordinary paper clips can hold more sheets of paper and seem to be softer to the paper. When you try to squeeze too many sheets of paper (> 25) into the Super Clip it can damage the paper slightly when you remove the paper clip again.
After using OHTO’s Super Clips for a while I came to appreciate them as re-usable, temporary clips that hold paper together much better and tighter than ordinary paper clips. The fact that I have two different colours helps to distinguish similarly documents I am working with, e.g. two sets of statistics from different years.
I found this company selling Zerkall Ingres paper in the USA.
JetPens and Cult Pens do not seem this paper clip and I could not find an American or British online shop selling the Japanese paper clip. RSVP and Modulor are two German online shops that have the paper clip in stock and ship to most countries.
If you have visited the Fountain Pen Network in the past, you might have read about Kaufhof in the Pelikan section. Kaufhof is a German department store chain that – sometimes – has good offers when it comes to Pelikan pens, especially Pelikan fountain pens. Except these special offers their prices and choice of stationery is pretty standard. You can, however, also find more unusual stationery there if you are lucky. On a recent trip to Kaufhof in Würzburg I saw these Esprit pencils. Their selling point is the cloth tag at the end of each pencil. These pencils loos quite nice, but I could not convince myself to buy one of these pencils …so I cannot comment on the quality of the lead or the wood used. The pencils are made in China and have an official retail price of £ 0.85 / $ 1.20 / € 0.95 each.
I think I should start this blog entry with a warning. If you expect this to be a pencil case review you might be slightly disappointed …there is a bit, but not too much, to be written about this pencil case, so to make this blog entry more substantial I will also talk a little bit about the Eberhard Faber brand and include a little bit of information about the pencils they offer in Europe. OK, let’s start:
When I was in Germany in April 2010 I bought this Eberhard Faber pencil case at the Müller store in Volkach, Lower Franconia. Müller is a drug store chain with shops in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia and other countries. The Müller shops I have seen so far had a nice selection of stationery.
Keeping the size of the shop in Volkach in mind they had a rather big stationery section. All the common products and brand were stocked …those that you would find in most shops in Germany, i.e. mainly Staedtler, Faber-Castell and for mechanical pencils the common Japanese brands as well.
You will also find some Lyra pencils, but don’t get your hopes up if you are looking for niche products. You will certainly find sharpeners, but if you are want a specific model not from Staedtler or Faber-Castell, but from Dux, M+S or Eisen you will be disappointed …but to be fair: not many stationery shops stock these brands anyway.
One of the reasons why I bought this pencil case was to get it while it is still available. Eberhard Faber was an American brand, but was sold to Faber-Castell. Since the 1990s Sanford owns it and as far as I know Eberhard Faber products disappeared more or less completely in the USA. If this is not the case and Eberhard Faber articles are still available in the USA I would be grateful if you could let me know. Not uncommon in such a case: another company held the trademark for another geographic area, in this case Staedtler continued to use the Eberhard Faber name in Europe This reminds me of Grundig, I mentioned them recently in another blog entry. Recently Staedtler sold the Eberhard Faber trademark, which now belongs to Faber-Castell. My understanding is that current Eberhard Faber products will not completely disappear, but will instead be sold under the Staedtler name in the future.
Eberhard was the brother of Lothar von Faber, the great-great grandfather of Count Anton Wolfgang, the current CEO of Faber-Castell. Originally Eberhard managed the subsidiary in New York and later he established his own company under his own name (see page 8 of the 2 / 2007 issue of Faber-Castell topics).
Back to the pencil case. The pencil case was €14.99 ($19.90, £ 12.45) and is filled with 17 pencils (all of them triangular shaped), an eraser, a ruler, a sharpener, 6 ink cartridges and a timetable. The material of the pencil case is real leather, but unfortunately the leather is rather thin. Four of the pencils are the Tricki Dicki highlighter pencils in neon colours: yellow, orange, green and red. The pencil case was available in three different colours: tan, black and maroon, the one I bought. Just for your information: In Germany maroon is usually referred to as “Bordeaux red”.
Although possibly not the best choice of name for English speaking countries, these pencils work very well, but like all highlighter pencils they cover written or printed letters to some extent. They look very similar to the Staedtler textsurfer dry, so I assume the Tricki Dicki and the textsurfer dry might actually be the same pencil. The circles, stars and triangles printed on the Tricki Dicki pencils can also be found on Staedtler’s new learner’s pencil. I could not find a direct equivalent to the other colour pencils from the pencil case in Staedtler’s product range. The most similar pencil seems to be the Staedtler ergosoft, but unlike the ergosoft, the Eberhard Faber 1410 colour pencils do not have ABS coating.
The sharpener that comes with the pencil case is the Möbius+Ruppert double hole magnesium sharpener 0211. The white eraser that you get does not have anything printed on it.
The Eberhard Faber Lederetui is a tri-fold pencil case with the fold-out part containing a timetable on one side and the ruler, the ink cartridges and three 1210 pencils on the other side.
I am not sure whether there is an equivalent pencil that is being sold under the Staedtler name. If there is one it might be the triangular Noris Club.
The Eberhard Faber 1210 pencils are very nice indeed, rather dark and not scratchy. They do however look relatively boring and I have to admit that I am less of a fan of triangular pencils than most other people.
The Eberhard Faber Lederetui is great value for money. You get quite a few pencil and a nice sharpener for your money. Compared to high-end pencil cases like the Sonnenleder Lasse it does however feel a bit flimsy and the leather, even though it is real leather, feels quite plasticy. This pencil case is being sold to school children, therefore the thin leather makes me wonder whether the pencil case will survive very long in the real world… Nevertheless I am sure it will last for a long time if you look after it.
Staedtler press release about selling the Eberhard Faber trademark to Faber-Castell