Spring is coming

Dorami-chan cover (Image © Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun)


Spring is coming – and it turns out there’s not only a special Spring version of the Hobonichi notebook (the Spring version starts in April), there are also special Spring Hobonichi covers [1]I saw two, but maybe there are more, officially only available now. Well, officially they are only available in Spring, but I guess in reality they are available until they are sold out.
Hobonichi seems to be going from strength to strength, expanding their line a bit more every year [2]…not sure whether the Spring edition is new, but it is certainly new to me..

References

1I saw two, but maybe there are more
2…not sure whether the Spring edition is new, but it is certainly new to me.

Noris 120 2

To celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Noris Staedtler has created a special page for our [1]..certainly my and maybe also your favourite pencil favourite pencil. You can find it in the ‘Highlights’ section of Staedtler’s website (it’s part of the the ‘Discover’ menu item).

A typical ‘Noris spotted on the Beeb’ photo thrown in for good measure. (Image © BBC)

I wish this important brand and pencil could have been in the limelight a bit longer – by Staedtler featuring the Noris anniversary article on their landing page for a few weeks – especially in countries like the UK where the Noris is very popular and people might appreciate this special anniversary [2]The 120th anniversary of the pencil with then umber 120.. Addendum: I have been told that that the Noris anniversary pages will be expanded throughout the year.

The special Noris web page is a great read with lots of historic details plus some quirky titbits thrown in, like the record-breaking Noris color pencil that is more than 450 meters long or the giant Noris Obelisk in Barcelona. Unfortunately the translation into English seems to have been done by a computer, which resulted in the occasional information hiccup, but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment you get from all the details. Addendum: My understanding is that Staedtler will get the translation issues fixed.

I feel very honoured that my best wishes for this anniversary are featured on the German version of the Staedtler website, next to Gunther’s.

Here featured in a report about how schools are affected during Covid times. Nothing says “UK school” quite like the Noris. (Image © BBC)

The anniversary details from this page are great, so I couldn’t resist and added some of them to the Noris page on Stationery.wiki.


The screenshots of have been taken from BBC News. I believe that the use of these images falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

References

1..certainly my and maybe also your favourite pencil
2The 120th anniversary of the pencil with then umber 120.

Boring dysfunction

Dysfunction

Staedtler’s Noris is near-daily occurrence on UK TV. Thanks to its ubiquitousness in schools it is sure to make an appearance in stock footage about primary schools. There is however a new place where you can admire the Noris on UK TV: during the day and in the evenings: in TV advertising for an erectile dysfunction blood test. Yes, I was also surprised they show this during the day. You can see a Noris triplus in two shots. First the lead is intact, then the lead is broken off. Subtle?

Image © Numan

You can watch the whole advertising below. I’m surprised that at the time of posting this blog post it only has 100 views. You always think that companies that pay for nation-wide TV advertising must be quite big, but maybe the company behind this is rather small or just doesn’t promote their videos online.

Boring

Image © BBC

On to the next topic: A buyer from one of my eBay auctions mentioned the Pencil episode of The Boring Podcast to me. I listened to this Podcast (or the radio show version) when it was new and I enjoyed it, but somehow stopped listening, even though it still is still in my podcast app. That was a mistake. This show originally caught my eye because the presenter is James Ward, the author of the Adventures in Stationery book. By the way, I never got a reply to my question what his favourite pencil is, but I might try again in another six years. The pencil episode‘s main contributor is Brian Mackenwells. He’s talking about many pencils, including the Tombow Mono 100, the real Blacking and the CalCedar Blackwing, the Noris, the Columbus and many more. Have a listen – and also have a look at Brian Mackenwells’ cool typewriter products!


Blinkenlights 4

While looking through The Pen Company‘s products last week I came across a slightly unusual pen from Scheinder: the Base Senso. The description read ‘This rollerball can sense when too much pressure is being applied, and will warn by illuminating the light at the end of the pen‘. How curious.

Schneider Base Senso

Easger to find out more I went to Schneider’s web site which provided some further information: The pen ‘indicates when too much writing pressure is exerted and teaches how to judge the right pressure for fluid writing. Ideal for beginners and for people with motor difficulties‘.

Image © Schneider

There’s even a seal that implies this pen has been developed together with a a joint expert.

An interesting idea. I’m just imagining a classroom full of children with blinking pens…


More about the upcoming Noris 511 120 sharpener 2

The new sharpener on the block

When I saw the Noris 511 120 Sharpener, mentioned in the previous blog post, my first thought was that Helmut Hufnagl was probably involved in the development of this sharpener. Two reasons: like the 562 300 PB ruler it is suitable for left-handed users [1]no wonder Staedtler won an award for non-discriminatory corporate culture and like the 512 60C sharpener the 511 120 tries to provide a mess-free experience, thanks to the cap. The similarity to the Sonic Ratchetta is another thing to notice. The 511 120 , like the Ratchetta, has a ratchet mechanism. This also means you can sharpen without having to ‘regrab’ the pencil and it makes the sharpener easier to use for left-handed users. In the West, the Sonic Ratchetta seems to be more commonly available than other sharpeners of a similar design. Similar sharpeners are being sold under other names (Bostitch, Paperpro and more), but as far as I can tell the original version was not the Sonic Ratchetta but was the SDI Buggy, first released in 2013. (You have to watch that video!)

The maestro did it again

I feel lucky and privileged to have been able to not only get answers to my questions about this sharpener but to even some additional information, directly from Mr Hufnagl. As suspected this sharpener is really his brainchild and even though it is being produced at one of the two factories were Sonic Ratchettas/SDI Buggies, etc, are being made, the Noris 511 120 is a different product, i.e. has different specs.

Super 5 (top) vs Dex (bottom) the photo doesn’t help in understanding the differences

Super sharpener, Super 5

The whole ‘looks similar but is different’ situation reminds me a bit of the Super 5. The fantastic Super 5 fountain pen looks quite similar to Kingsley’s Dex and thanks to Scribble I found out that both of these, and also the Manuscript Master, use Helit bodies. These pens are however quite different in terms of ‘feel quality’ and even function: while the Dex feels cheap and plasticky the Super 5 is a great pen to use and has a very special nib. They are quite different even though both use Helit bodies. As mentioned previously, Helit is actually owned by Maped which brings us back to the topic of sharpeners: The 511 120 isn’t out yet, but I am looking forward to finding out how it will perform.

Testing

Mr Hufnagl asked different kinds of users to test the new sharpener. Doctors / GP practices and hairdressers were particularly impressed with this sharpener. Different employees were sharing pencils, e.g. to write down appointments, and ratchet mechanism made sharpening easy for left-handed users while the shape made the sharpener easy to clean (think Covid). Pupils from secondary schools also loved this sharpener.

I’m really looking forward to the 511 120. It certainly seems worthy of sporting the Noris’ colours and is a great addition to the Noris line in the Noris anniversary year.

Image © Staedtler

PS: You have to watch that video!

References

1no wonder Staedtler won an award for non-discriminatory corporate culture