Three Horse Pencils 6

Today: new old stock pencils from Japan.

Three Horse Pencils



My original guess was that these Three Horse Pencils are from the 1970s, but I found an American web site that indicates that these pencils might be from the 1960s.

I do like pencils with a theme (the Bonanza, the Alligator, …), so even though I’m not too keen on the strong colours and the light stripes (which are similar to the modern Marco 9001 and the Bauhaus 6004) the three horse heads printed on the pencils1 make good for that…

Three Horse Pencils



Unfortunately, the erasers are unusable by now. The wood smells a bit like frankincense, but less pleasant and also a bit wet. I guess the pencils weren’t stored in a very dry environment.

Three Horse Pencils



I managed to produce a nice point using the rotary blade sharpener Deli 0668, my first choice these days when it comes to sharpening the Wopex, too2.

Sharpening in different prism sharpeners was less successful. The lead did break most of the time and the surface of the exposed wood looked very frazzled, unless I used a sharpener with a blade in near perfect condition.

Three Horse Pencils


Now and then

Compared to modern Japanese pencils the HB lead of the Three Horse Pencil is harder, very similar to a Western/European HB. It takes a bit more effort to erase the graphite, but not really a lot more. The line it puts on paper has a similar darkness as modern pencils. Using a good rubber, in my case the Staedtler Mars Plastic stick, the graphite from this pencil can be removed as well as that of a modern pencil: you’ll just see the dent the pencil left in the paper.

Three Horse Pencils

The package sleeve has the letters H.T.P. printed on it. This might be the name of the pencils’ manufacturer, but I was not able to find more information about H.T.P..

  1. You’ll probably have to click on the picture to enlarge or you won’t get a good view of the logo. []
  2. …because of the less acute angle, compared to the Deli 0635, it manages to sharpen the Wopex without major issues while still producing a fantastic point. []

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6 thoughts on “Three Horse Pencils

  • Sean

    Thanks for posting; I’ve never heard of these (despite being American, and from the ’70s).

    The Three Horses of the Apencilypse. 🙂

  • Gunther

    Thank you for showing these pencils! I like their design, especially the fact that the dozen contains three different barrel colours. The typography on the sleeve is unusual but appeals to me too. It’s a little playful without being silly, and I wouldn’t mind that on today’s pencils!

    Sean: For some unknown reason the movie “Horse Feathers” by the Marx Brothers came to my mind 😉

  • Matthias

    Thanks for your kind comments.

    Sean, they are being sold in a retro shop in America now, but I’m not sure where they were originally sold. My understanding is that my dozen was found, among others, in a warehouse in the UK. The fact that it’s not easy to figure out who or what HTP, presumably the manufacturer, is makes me think there not have been huge numbers of these pencils might have been made… Hehe, apencilypse… Is that not when scratchy no name pencils take over?

    Gunther, I thought you might appreciate the S in PENCILS 8) The label is printed using spot colour printing, I mention it because that might not be easy to spot in the picture. Knowing this doesn’t really help to identify the year it was made, but it does show that it has been printed a while ago.

  • Sean

    hehe… and with apologies to John of Patmos: “I looked and beheld a Pale Pencil, and the name that rode upon him was “No Name”, and scratchiness followed with him.”

  • Matthias

    Gunther, too bad spot printing seems to have been replaced completely. four colour printing seems to be everywhere, even on packaging that what have gotten away with spot printing with two or three colours (or at least it’s like that every time I look closely at packaging). I guess there are (nearly) only four colour printing ‘machines’ left.

    Sean, I had to look that quote up first… I wasn’t familiar with it but what a good fit it is…