memm


Wörther’s Shorty 4

If you follow my YouTube channel you might have spotted this video about Wörther’s lead holder ‘Shorty’.

I was lucky enough to get two of these over the years. One from fellow stationery blogger Scribble and one from Pen Heaven.

I think they must be the first lead holders I have added to my overview of mechanical pencils.

The plastic version is light and very affordable.

While the aluminium version is still not expensive and rather elegant.

In the video you’ll see that the origin of the Shorty is rather fascinating. 

Like fellow German company Lamy and like other companies world-wide including Hero, Wörther’s beginnings have a strong link to the Parker Pen Company. It’s a shame that Parker, like other old established companies seems to have suffered the consequences of past sub-optimal decisions and is not the strong player in this field it once was.

Have a look at the video to find out more.

 


The Secret Life of the Pencil Book and Pencil Pack

The big stationery topic this week is the Insights X trade fair. I really hope that Gunther will publish another one of his fantastic trade fair reports on Lexikaliker.de.

If, like me, you cannot be in Nuremberg for the trade fair then CultPens might have the next best thing for you. They are currently giving away a free pencil pack with every copy of the Secret Life of the Pencil book.1

The book itself is great. Much better than I expected. William Boyd’s2 foreword is more than fitting. I loved to learn about his pencil journey3 and enjoyed looking at all the pencils while figuring out the make, model and approximate age.

Many pencils seem ‘real’ and straight from the desk, many seem prepared for the photos, e.g. Sculptor Bill Woodrow made his pencil into a sculpture, polymath Stephen Fry seems to have pretend knife-sharpened a sharpener-sharpened pencil4.

Whether straight from the desk or prepared for the book, they all are enjoyable.

 

  1. They also still offer a big discount on the Cult Pencil, with a further 10% off when using the discount code CULTMP10 []
  2. I think his internationally best known work might be his James Bond novel ‘Solo’, which I didn’t read, but listened to when it was Radio 4’s book of the week. []
  3. ..by the way, in my opinion graphite lasts much longer than ink – Sean could go into much more detail on this topic than I could []
  4. Best of both – the perfect compromise: sharpener-sharpened makes more sense, knife-sharpened is more fitting. []

Preston’s Pelikan Hub 2018

It’s been fairly quiet on this blog –  the beginning of the new academic year has been keeping me busy.

That made the two hours I spent visiting Preston’s Pelikan Hub last Friday even more precious. The Hub was in the same place as last year.

The outside might not have been as nice as last year, thanks to the scaffolding, but inside it was as nice as always.

We Preston Pelikan participants had a whole room to ourselves. Look! ..the green wallpaper even matched this year’s ink of the year 😜.

The wood fired Pizzas were absolutely delicious.

Here’s one I ate earlier..

The event was not only for humanoids. Here’s our feathered friend who came along..

..and our canine friend from the Hub.

..not to forget: some of our Hub’s Pelikans without feathers.

The fireplace made the whole place even cosier..

..as did the drinks (mine is the Diet Coke).

I hope Preston will get its own Pelikan Hub again in 2019.


Stationery Factlets #6: Staedtler was the first European manufacturer of mechanical pencil leads 4

Time for another stationery factlet: Staedtler was the first European manufacturer of mechanical pencil leads.

Staedtler made lead holders and leads for the lead holders for a long time. Below is a page from their 1935 catalogue.

Staedtler Catalogue 1935

Staedtler Catalogue 1935

When thinner lead diameters were introduced Staedtler was the first European manufacturer of these thinner leads – the kind of leads I would refer to as mechanical pencil leads.

Staedtler’s catalogues from the 1960s don’t seem to show pictures of these leads, but the catalogue from 1970 does – and it shows a very familiar lead container.

Staedtler Catalogue 1970

Staedtler Catalogue 1970

Staedtler Catalogue 1970

Staedtler Catalogue 1970

The Mars lead container still has the same shape today, but the plastic is now transparent. The opening of this lead container has the perfect diameter for refilling Mars micro mechanical pencils as you can see in the old video from my 2015 neox blog post.


I would like to thank Eberhard Rüdel for his detective work regarding my mechanical lead questions.