Graphene, entrepreneurs and bad weather

Today: three different and unrelated topics in one blog post:


First: a link that has to do with graphene (this is not the first graphene related blog post). The last episode of In Business, the Radio 4 programme that previously looked at Staedtler and Faber-Castell, had a closer look at graphene and what it means for Manchester.

As far as I know Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov used lumps of graphite, but I think I heard that in the beginning they used a pencil to ‘isolate’ graphene. I might have heard that on the Andre Geim Desert Island Discs episode, but it might have been somewhere else.

I like to imagine that it was a Noris or Tradition, just because they are so ubiquitous in the UK, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was another pencil. Imagine having worked in Staedtler’s Welsh factory in Pontyclun on the day the pencil that made this all happen rolled off the conveyor belt [1]I guess it would be a bit like having assembled the NeXT computer that became the first web machine..


I received an email telling me about a new notebook for entrepreneurs. I don’t think I understood the entrepreneur angle, but according to the photos this is a very elegant looking notebook. It’s another crowdfunded stationery project.

Bad Weather

To make good use of the great weather yesterday we went to have a walk. Influenced by Sean’s blog post about the Graf von Faber-Castell pencil extender I got mine out and decided to use it again. I bought it more than five years ago. It was very cheap for a GvFC item, probably because it has lots of scratches. Here’s a picture I took during the walk.


Within a few minutes the temperature suddenly dropped by more than 5°C. Luckily we (just) made it back to the car before the rain started.

Anyone has any idea how I can remove the scratches from the pencil extender, preferably without removing the silver plating?


1 I guess it would be a bit like having assembled the NeXT computer that became the first web machine.

2 thoughts on “Graphene, entrepreneurs and bad weather”

  1. I share your concern about the scratches – I’d like to know how to deal with them too, although mine isn’t too bad at the moment. I wonder whether FC provides re-plating services for a fee?

  2. In the past the local watch/photo/ jewellery shops in my home town did do gold plating, so I don’t expect it to be too complicated or expensive, unless silver plating is very different. There are moving parts, but I guess that shouldn’t be a problem…
    The moving parts are the nice thing about this pencil extender. The new GvFC PP looks like it has been designed on a computer and then created, this extender looks like it the form follows function and necessity and looks like ‘honest work’ (unfortunately I can’t think of a better way of expression my thoughts at the moment).

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