Monthly Archives: April 2014


The beautiful M101N tortoiseshell brown 5

I try to keep the number of fountain pen posts low, but I guess every month or so a blog post about fountain pens is ok without diluting the pencil theme of this blog.

There’s one fountain pen I’ve been keen on ever since I first saw it in 2011. Pencil Talk even mentioned it – and I mentioned that Pencil Talk mentioned it ;^) The Pelikan M101N tortoise brown. A reissue of a fountain pen from the 1930s.

I once saw a real one in Papier Pfeiffer (a brick and mortar shop you might remember from this post), but the brown plastic didn’t look so good in the strong light in the shop, but anyway, I was very tempted to buy this pen. There was also an online shop in the UK that sold it for a very good price, lower than what I’ve seen in any other country (it might have been The Writing Desk – I’m not sure), but I somehow thought I can’t justify paying that much, mainly because I already have a tortoise fountain pen, a white M400 you might have seen in several of my previous posts – and I thought having two beautiful fountain pens will mean that I can’t treasure each of them enough.

…but I kept thinking about that beautiful tortoise M101N. There was a M101N that was released after the tortoise brown version:  the Lizard Special Edition, but I didn’t like the look at all – plus the retail price was much more expensive. Rumours have it that there’ll be a red tortoise version soon. I fear it will be even more expensive than the Lizard version.

Recently I got lucky and got a tortoise M101N for a good price from a seller in Japan. I think I paid  more than what I would have paid at the cheap UK online shop back when it was new – but for 2014 it was a good price. I really wasn’t sure whether I should spend that much, but anyway, now it’s done. I might sell some other pens soon to compensate.

The M101N the most beautiful, but also the most expensive fountain pen I own. It’s a shame it’s so expensive. I know they call it resin, but in reality that’s not so different to plastic, is it? What a shame that these pens aren’t mass produced and sold for a cheap price. Pelikan had a go at cheap piston fillers in the past with their Pelikan Go!. Too bad that didn’t work out.

Wouldn’t it be nice if these beautiful pens were easily affordable? Then I’d love them even more, but I guess the less common fountain pens become, the more expensive they’ll become. Ink is also getting more expensive.

This reminds me of a time when this was quite different. The following is from Herbert Rosendorfer’s book Das Messingherz, p. 508. The book was first published 1979.

In a small stationery shop (…) [he] bought a little bottle of ink. It cost one Mark and fifteen Pfennig, despite being the most expensive kind of ink. (…) How do ink manufacturers get rich? [he] thought. A little bottle of the luxurious type is one Mark fifteen Pfennig, and since I’ve been writing I’ve only used up one. Ok, Heinrich Böll wrote more than me, let’s say – if he didn’t use a type writer or a ballpoint pen – that he used up six bottles of ink. No – [he] calculated all the things Heinrich Böll wrote – no: eight. eight times one fifteen. (…) Ten Mark twenty.

Based on purchasing power (see Kaufkraft article ) DM 1.15 in 1979 is about €1.23 today (~$1.70; £1.00) – I guess even when adjusting for purchasing power, ink was still cheaper in the past.


The Montblanc and the recipe 7

I spotted this recipe yesterday evening, when my wife was preparing her dinner. What’s that, I thought. Why is Montblanc being mentioned in a recipe? Turns out the Montblanc is used to describe the size of the asparagus. I wonder whether the author did this to show off, or whether a Montblanc pen is really a universal thing everyone knows the size of…
Montblanc recipeIn my imagination it happened like this:

Are those recipes ready to be published?

 

Kind of – there’s one problem with the asparagus and shrimps recipe.

 

What problem?

 

It’s about the size of the asparagus. We wrote the size down in cm, but thought it’s odd if people take their tape measure out when  preparing food.

 

That’s easy, we just describe the size of the asparagus using an everyday object – one we all use on a daily basis. Write down the asparagus should be the size of a Montblanc.

 

Ah, of course, why didn’t I think of it earlier…

Montblanc recipe


Going up… 2

Rotring TikkyYou might remember my blog post about stationery becoming more and more expensive …and  my facebook post about the price of the Rotring Tikky.

Well, I got a shock today when I saw that Tesco now charges £5 for the Tikky. It used to cost £1.99 not that long ago…
When it was £1.99 I actually thought it’s too cheap and people might not value this pen because of the price, but now that it has been cheap for a long time in all major shops I don’t understand this price increase that is completely out of line with inflation, either. I guess I must be difficult to please…

Pentel Ain Clic 7

After seeing my link on facebook about the effects of erasers on paper [1]Sorry, I didn’t find an English, only  a Dutch and a German version of the paper. you must have guessed that the next post is about erasers, so today: a belated blog post about the Pental Ain Clic, an eraser in a pen shaped holder [2]Previously reviewed at East…West…Everywhere.. There are strong links to the recent Temagraph blog post: More or less the same eraser is also available under the Temagraph brand.

Temagraph eraser (Image © Fila)

Temagraph eraser (Image © Fila)

I don’t own the Temagraph version though, so my blog post is based on the Pentel Ain Clic version, which was sent to me by Fudepens.com, where it currently retails for €4 (~$5.50; £3.30). If you like their products: they do ship internationally and orders over €30 get free international shipping.

Pen Erasers Overview

Different erasers in pen shaped holders.

Shape

The main difference, compared to other erases that come in pen shaped holders, is that the eraser core is triangular. This means that you usually end up having a ‘corner’ of the eraser left when you need to erase small, tricky traces of graphite – a bit like Kokuyo erasers, just not that extreme. The problem with the round eraser sticks is not so much that the area you end up erasing is too big (the end of the stick ends up, more or less, in the shape of a half sphere. If you think of a ball lying on the ground, the contact area with the ground is very small), the problem is more that the point where you erase is difficult to control, because it is difficult to see where the eraser will make contact with the paper. This is where the triangular shape comes in handy, but the pointy corners you see in the picture will of course round off, too.

Pentel Ain Clic

New and unused, let’s try it out next….

Materials

The body of the Ain Clic eraser is made in Mexico, while the eraser itself is produced in Japan and is composed of PVC and DINP. Just a warning, the P in DINP stands for phthalate, which you might have come across in the news. In the EU DINP is banned in toys and childcare articles that children can put into their mouths (see European Directive 2005/84/EC [3]http://ec.europa.eu/health/opinions/en/phthalates-school-supplies/glossary/def/dinp-di-isononyl-phthalate.htm ). This eraser doesn’t seem to be marketed at children, but I would keep in mind that it contains phthalates and would keep it away from children (or adults tempted to put it in their mouth). It might also be advisable to put the eraser crumbs in the waste bin ,instead of just blowing them off the paper, so they don’t end up on the desk or floor.

The Staedtler Mars plastic eraser stick 528 50, used in the comparison, did contain phthalates in the past (as shown in the paper about the effects of erasers on paper), but the current product specification sheet shows that the Mars plastic, which is also PVC based, is now phthalate free. I hope Pentel will change the Ain Clic in the future and will switch to a more ‘human friendly’ plasticiser.

Pentel Ain Clic

Performance

The Ain Clic doesn’t only look good, performance-wise it’s also very good.

When just erasing with a single stroke (maybe more suitable for artists) performance is not too good, but when repeatedly moving the eraser across the graphite to be erased (which, I would think, is the standard way of doing it) performance is great. With repeated movement graphite doesn’t stick to much too the eraser and the eraser dust will roll up into strands – I like erasers where the dust rolls up like that.

Comparison

Comparison on Banditapple 3G paper. The shaded areas were erased using eight strokes (Mars left, Pentel right)

Conclusion

Overall a great and good looking eraser, but the use of DINP is a black mark against it and the eraser shouldn’t be given to children.

I use pencils and erasers for writing, where I don’t need to eraser very fine details, but I can imagine this being an eraser very suitable for artists.


I would like to thank Fudepens.com for the Pentel Ain Clic, which I got sent for free. I don’t think the fact that I didn’t pay for the eraser influenced my opinion of this eraser in any way.

 

I would like to thank Pentel USA and Staedtler for the additional information they have provided about their erasers.

 

The photo of the Temagraph eraser is © Fila. I believe that the use of the photo shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

 

I bought the Staedtler Mars plastic eraser stick at Granthams, a local art supply shop. I paid between £1 and £2 for it, but I can’t remember how much exactly.

 

Price (for the Pentel) and exchange rates: April 2014.

References

References
1Sorry, I didn’t find an English, only  a Dutch and a German version of the paper.
2Previously reviewed at East…West…Everywhere.
3http://ec.europa.eu/health/opinions/en/phthalates-school-supplies/glossary/def/dinp-di-isononyl-phthalate.htm