Monthly Archives: August 2011


Reidinger magnetic pencil & giveaway 10

You might recognise the name Reidinger from Lexkaliker’s blog. He wrote about their “Pencil Configurator” in one of his previous blog posts. Despite their pencil configurator, Reidinger is not really a pencil manufacturer but is selling pencils, including carpenter pencils, and folding rules as promotional gifts.

The magnet

Good it's not a CRT...

One of their products is a magnetic pencil, which I got sent by Mr Lorber earlier this month, together with some of Reidinger’s crystal pencils1. It is a black wood pencil with a neodymium magnet at the end. Unlike Viarco’s or Lexikaliker’s version the magnet is hidden by a metal sleeve and is not directly visible. A metal disc is available and comes with one of the magnetic pencil sets, for sticking to non-metallic surfaces so that the pencil can be placed there. The disc is however not magnetic. A quick attempt to magnetise the disc using the magnetic pencil was unsuccessful (I was hoping to magnetise the disc to be able to use it for Eberhard Faber’s Microtomic or General’s Kimberly pencils). You might know that neodymium magnets are the strongest permanent magnets available and I have to say it is pretty amazing how much these pencils “stick” and what you can do with them: if you can connect two pencils at the end you can swing them around, which is pretty fun.

The pencil

Don't need the metal disc here...

The pencil itself is very good. It lays down a very dark line, is easy to erase and sharpen and is quite smooth, similar to a good pencil, like the Staedtler Tradition or Noris, but short of an excellent pencils, like the Faber-Castell Castell 9000, the Tombow Mono 100 or the Staedtler Mars Lumograph.

After talking to Mrs Morse from Reidinger I found out that many of their pencils are manufactured in Eastern Europe and are made using lime wood2 and was told that the quality of the materials has  been certified by TÜV. I am however not sure where exactly the magnetic pencils and the crystal pencils are made. I know that some of the other crystal pencils available are made in China, but to my surprise there seem to be several factories making black wood crystal pencils as Mrs Morse confirmed that their pencils are not from China. Last year my wife bought some crystal pencils from The Pen Shop. They are in her office at the moment – so I cannot check now, but I should have a look and compare them to the ones from Reidinger…

Magnetic and Crystal Pencils

Giveaway

As these magnetic pencils are promotional gifts you cannot buy them individually. I believe you have to buy at least 288 for an order, but since Mr Lorber sent me several of them I am happy to give away a pack of three crystal pencils with Swarovski elements and a magnetic pencil with a metal disc. I am happy to send the prizes to any country as long as Royal Mail doesn’t refuse to send them there. I will use random.org to get a random number and the author of the corresponding article will get the price (unless I am the author or the comment is definitely spam). To take part please leave your comments at this blog post before Sunday, 4th September 2011, 23:59 UTC.



I would like to thank

  • Mr Lorber for sending me these pencils and
  • Mrs Morse from Reidinger for providing me with more information about Reidinger’s pencils.
  • Sean from The Blackwing Pages for the Eberhard Faber Microtomic and the General’s Kimberly pencils I tried to use with the metal disc.

Related information:

 

 

  1. using Swarovski elements []
  2. American English: Linden wood []

Schwanberg and the Pencil Cedar 6

The 'town' of Castell

In the 12th century my home town, Volkach, became part of the county of Castell, which belonged to – you might have guessed – the Counts of Castell1. Quite a bit later, in 1896, Alexander Graf zu Castell-Rüdenhausen married Ottilie Freiin von Faber and the name of the pencil manufacturer Faber changed to Faber-Castell.

Except this link to Faber-Castell there isn’t really much of a “pencil link” in the surrounding area of Volkach. All the exiting pencil stuff is happening about 100 km further South where you’d find the big pencil manufacturers like Staedtler, Faber-Castell, Schwan-Stabilo and Lyra.

 

Some branches the forest's caretaker removed. He also cut other trees nearby to give the Pencil Cedars more space.

 

I wrote there isn’t much of a “pencil link” here – well, the area around my home town can boast with one other link to the world of pencils, even though it is rather unknown. Trees from North America were planted in Germany to test the suitability of the wood for use in pencil production …and some of them were planted on Schwanberg2, an elevation not far from the town of Castell, by the Counts of Castell – to test the suitability of the wood for use in pencil production. The trees brought over from North America were the Pencil Cedar (juniperus virginiana) and the Eastern White Pine (pinus strobus). You can still find some of the Pencil Cedars near Castell. 100 years ago there were also many well established Pencil Cedars North East of Faber-Castell’s home town, Stein, planted by Faber, which probably didn’t survive3. These trees are not really used any more for pencil production, but if you have an old pencil that is more than 70 years old, the wood might be from a Pencil Cedar.

The Schwanberg, seen from Volkach



More about the Pencil Cedars at Lexikaliker’s blog post “Der Graphit” (German) (Link to the Google Translation)

  1. At that time it actually wasn’t a town yet, but documents show that by 1258 it was a town (‘in civitate nostra Volka’). []
  2. The Schwanberg isn’t really a hill, but an elevation (474m / 1555 feet) – about 200m above the surrounding area. According to legend Saint Hadeloga (sometimes called Adeloga or Hadla) built an abbey (nunnery) on Schwanberg. She was the daughter of Karl Martell (Charles the Hammer). He repudiated her when she vowed virginity (so she is not mentioned very often in history) but they reconciled many years later. She is actually an aunt of Charlemagne, King of the Franks, and she is the patron saint for fever. []
  3. This tree was first introduced to Europe in the 17th century. Faber is supposed to have planted, between several thousand and several tens of thousands of these trees in the 19th century, depending on which source you check. I assume many must have survived outside Schwanberg, but it is unknown how many are left and where they are. One of Lexikaliker’s blog posts indicates that the trees planted by Faber near Nuremberg did not survive. Other Pencil Cedars planted in Germany did not survive either. []