A trip to the museum …and a new sharpener

Thank you for the anniversary comments. I was hoping to get this blog post out by 21 November, the third birthday of this blog, but unfortunately I didn’t find the time. Anyway here’s the first blog post in the fourth year of Bleistift.

The Cumberland Pencil Museum


The museum

Considering that I don’t live too far away from the Cumberland Pencil Museum, both the Museum and I are in North West England, it took me quite a while to get there – but this May my wife and I finally made the trip. The weather was fantastic and the Museum managed to convey a lot of information despite being rather small. Admission is £4 (~$6.40; €4.95), but comes with a ‘free’ souvenir pencil.

How pencils are made – temporary(?) mural outside the museum. Notice the “i” in weird.

There were explanations how pencils are made and you could admire historic pens and pencil and machines. I will only show one photo from inside the museum as I haven’t asked whether they permit the posting of photos taken in the museum on the web.

On exhibition: Cumberland pencils from the 1920s

There was a pencil labelling machine, too, but unfortunately it was broken at the time …I would have really liked to get some personalised pencils.  A subsequent enquiry regarding the pencil labelling machine was not as helpful as it could have been, so I decided not to chase this up further. Maybe the machine will work again if I go there again in the future.

The Pencil Museum Shop

Obviously I couldn’t resist stocking up on pencils in the museum shop. The shop’s selection is aimed at artists, but if you use pencils for office purposes you’ll also find nice products. Pencils are from Derwent, who are running the museum, but you can find pencil related items from other brands.

The Eisen 060 sharpener, top


The sharpener

One of the products I picked up in the museum is the Eisen 060 [1]Eisen changed their web site. The pages are only available in German at the moment, so unfortunately all links to Eisen are to their German product page. . I like this sharpener because the rounded corners make it “different” while still maintaining the classic wedge shape look [2]Eisen’s classic wedge sharpener is the 040.. I paid £1 (~$1.60; €1.25). This sharpener’s body and blade were both made in Baiersdorf near Nuremberg. The 060’s produced in the last three years still feature the blade made in Baiersdorf, like all Eisen sharpeners, but the body is now made in Taicang near Shanghai. Performance of this little sharpener is very good, too.

The Eisen 060 sharpener, bottom
Technical Information (adapted from Pencil Revolution)
Type wedge / blade
Material Magnesium-alloy
Shavings Receptacle None
Angle 24° – 25° [3]I measured 25°, the official figure is 24° which is also the one I used for in the list of sharpeners
Markings “MADE IN GERMANY” (blade); Eisen logo plus “Made in Germany” (body)
Place of Manufacture Baiersdorf (Germany) and Taicang (China)
The Eisen 060, a Wopex and the Museum pencil



As this is a (belated) birthday blog post I am giving away an Eisen 060, some British-made Staedtler pencils and possible a few other small items I can find. 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 comment will get the price (unless I am the author or the comment is definitely spam). To take part please leave a comment for this blog post before Friday, 30th September 2011, 23:59 UTC.


Prices: May 2012

Exchange rates: November 2012

I would like to thank Stephan Eisen for providing additional information regarding the Eisen 060.


1 Eisen changed their web site. The pages are only available in German at the moment, so unfortunately all links to Eisen are to their German product page.
2 Eisen’s classic wedge sharpener is the 040.
3 I measured 25°, the official figure is 24° which is also the one I used for in the list of sharpeners

16 thoughts on “A trip to the museum …and a new sharpener”

  1. Happy anniversary, Matthias, and thank you for your blog!

    The photos from the Cumberland pencil museum are exciting – thank you for sharing your impressions.

    How did you manage to get a reply from Eisen? Have you just emailed them? I have contacted them several times via email and asked where to buy their products but haven’t got a reply.

  2. Thank you, Gunther. Unfortunately I missed the fifth anniversary of the Lexikaliker blog 8^(

    The museum was smaller than I expected. The exhibition area is smaller than the rest of the building (video room, shop, food area). I got the impression that some of their exhibitions are changing. Keswick attracts tourists anyway, so this might entice them to visit the museum when they come again.

    There is a famous book & animation in the UK, called “The Snowman“, which has been drawn using Cumberland products. I don’t think it is well known in Germany. The snowman is of course featured in the museum. You can also see it being mention on the mural. After 30 years there will be a new version this Christmas, but I doubt the sequel has been drawn with real pencils…

    Regarding Eisen, I emailed info@eisen-spitzer.com . Last time it took three months to get an answer, but I did get one eventually. Another address I used in the past is eisen@eisen-spitzer.com .
    In the UK their products are available at WH Smith. In Germany I have seen Eisen products in Müller.

  3. You’re welcome! – No problem at all; I hope my blog will see its 6th anniversary 😉

    I haven’t heard of “The Snowman” before and will look at it.

    Regarding Eisen: I forgot to mention that I have even phoned them, asked for a list of suppliers and left my contact details but to no avail. Anyway, why bother? There is Möbius+Ruppert 🙂

  4. Happy anniversary!

    Thank you for all of the hours of enjoyment I get out of reading your blog! 🙂 And thanks to not only you but all of those that take the time to review and and show us pencils from around the world.

  5. Happy anniversary! Palimpsest is 3 years old too. Thanks you for all your posts, and may we continue to enjoy them in many years to come.

  6. Nice post, Memm. and a second congratulations on your third annivversary. The Lake District is my favourite part of the world, especially the Grasmere to Ambleside walk. Unfortunately my love of Derwent Artist graphic pencils has faded of late, but Derwent do make the widest range of Art pencils/accessories and are an innovative company with new products. I just wish their quality would improve…I think they make too many products at the expense of quality.

  7. Thank you all for your kind comments.

    Gunther, I hope you can find the Snowman in better quality. The youtube video doesn’t do the drawings justice.

    Palimpsest, congratulations to your blog, too.

    Julie (O-kami), to be honest, the labelled pencils don’t look too exciting, as far as i can tell from photos each letter is made up of dots, a letter is probably seven dots high and 5 dots wide. Still, would have been nice…

    Kevin, I hope they keep making their pencils for many years to come. My subjective impression is that they don’t have a very big market share. I wonder whether that is down to the quality you mentioned.

  8. Congratulations to Beth P.
    The True Random Number Generator from Randon.org picked her comment.
    3 Years Bleistift Blog Prize
    The prize will be on its way to Canada soon.

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