It’s easy to be suspicious about a product when its name feels a bit overconfident. In the case of the Stabilo legend 1198 eraser, I can report good news, though.
This Malaysian-made eraser is available in five bright colours and is surprisingly cheap: you can sometimes find it for under 50p (~50c; ~50¢) – or rather that’s the price per eraser if you buy a multi-pack. Stabilo’s international and German web sites don’t mention the legend, so it is probably not a very important product for them, but the packaging of my box of twenty is labelled in many languages GB. MY, DE, FR, IT, ES, Pt, RU, GR, SA, TR, HR, which suggests that it is officially available in most European countries.
Even though there is no mention of it being dust-free it behaves very much like a dust-free eraser, i.e. the erasing ‘dust’ rolls into strands which makes erasing a pleasant and mess-free task. The ‘dust-free-ness’, together with the nice bright colours, make it a good choice for my taste. The legend is not that common, which is a shame, but if you ever see it in a shop, maybe give it a try…
One of the indispensable pens in our kitchen is the Stabilo All pencil. It can write on almost any surface, so is suitable for labelling more or less whatever needs labelling in the kitchen: plastic tubs, bags, clips and more. When our current 8008 got lost we got a new one, or rather two: the graphite version (8008) and the colour pencil version (8046) which is not graphite based but more like a black coloured pencil.
One thing we noticed very soon is that, unlike our old version, the current version is now marked as being made in the Czech Republic. I assume it is made in Český Krumlov, Schwan-Stabilo’s factory that I mentioned in the past, the first time in a blog post about the EASYgraph.
Writing with the new version feels quite different. I hope the lost 8008 will turn up again so that I can compare them.
You can find a review of the 8008 on the From The Pen Cup Blog:
In other news: I noticed that Kaweco has a few new products, including the Perkeo in very unusual, matte looking pastel colours. Kaweco now also has ink bottles in a new square design and a new book. You can see the new products on Kaweco’s page for new products – I assume the page linked to will only show these products for a few weeks, so if you look at this blog post after Spring 2021 you probably won’t see them there.
There were also a few other, very nice products from Kaweco which don’t seem to be new, but which I haven’t noticed before – including a nice concrete pen holder. I couldn’t resist and ordered one, so will update you soon.
The Perkeo image has been taken from the Kaweco web site. I believe that the use of this images falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.
When I asked if they have any new products they showed me their new diary system.
Please open in a new tab to see the images in high resolution. They come with holder for business cards etc.
Also at Insights X was Platinum.
The brought some of their posh fountain pens along, including some with Urushi lacquer.
When I asked about mechanical pencils they showed me their OLEeNU+ but weren’t able to give me more information (there clearly was a language barrier, even though they brought a staff who spoke English). The normal OLEeNU (not the plus version presented at the stand) uses the lead up to the last 0.5mm, similar to the Staedtler Integrity mentioned here and reviewed here. It also has a spring to help prevent lead breakage and a sliding ‘sleeve’. The staff from the Platinum counter told me that the OLEeNU+ doesn’t have a sliding sleeve, though.
Stabilo presented some new products at Insights X, too. In terms of non-pencil products I liked their pastel coloured pens – the pastel Boss markers looked really good (not sure how it looks on paper though).
In terms of pencils I found their touch smart pencil very innovative. Their ‘touch-screen function adapter’, the red item in the photo above, makes a normal pencil touch screen ready. You touch the screen with the pencil point, but through the clear plastic. It will then register on touch screens. I wonder whether it will work better than existing touch screen technologies, which often need a lot of force to work.
Unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit the Clairefontaine/Exacompta/Quo Vadis, Koh-I-Noor, KUM or any of the other companies. What a shame.
The biggest stationery shop I know on Shanghai’s FuZhou road is in the building labelled “Shanghai culture commercial building”. Unlike the small, independent stationery shops found nearby this shop is state-owned – at least I think it is. In this shop different brands have their own different counters and staff and even though prices are a bit higher than in some surrounding shops prices are still reasonable compared to what you pay in shopping malls or in hip and funky stores which tend to charge you a packet just because they are so cool…
The Stabilo LeftRight
One of the things I bought in the Shanghai culture commercial building, on New Year’s Eve, was Stabilo’s LeftRight. Officially referred to as a retractable pencil this is a leadholder for 2mm leads.
I paid ¥18 (~ £1.80; $2.90; €2.20) for this set which includes the leadholder, a very nice eraser, a lead sharpener – very nice, too, and a container with four 2mm leads, supposedly 2H. I wouldn’t call these 2H. For me they are definitely softer than HB. As we know there is no standard to say what is HB, what is 2B, etc., but even in Asia, where leads with the same grade are generally much softer than in the West, most manufacturers wouldn’t label the leads that come with the LeftRight as 2H. Back to the set: all items that come as part of the set are blue and triangular. There is also a pink set available and as far as I know both, the right-handed and the left-handed version, are available in both colours. The items from the set do look quite nice. In my eye, the worst looking of these items is actually the leadholder, just because it looks a bit plasticy.
The left-handed and right-handed version of this leadholder come with a “ergonomic triangular thumb pointer grip for correct gripping”. Unfortunately there is a problem with this pen: because of the indentations there is only one comfortable position for holding this pencil. That’s intended. The (probably) unintended consequence is that the 2mm lead will always be used on the same side and will get too wide too soon which means that it will need sharpening too often – at least when you use the LeftRight for writing Western text. The situation might be different if you draw or if you write Asian character and hold the leadholder vertically like a brush. Rotating the pencil, to compensate for the one-sided use, is not really comfortable and rotating the leadholder mechanism in the pencil is only possible of you remove the triangular cap.
The original idea for this leadholder might have been good, but the execution is less than exciting. I would not be surprised if a ballpoint pen user came up with the ergonic grip series idea – which I guess works well on the LeftRight ballpoint pen. It is really a shame because all the items that come with the Pencil set look quite good together. You really want to use this pencil, but it has such an off-putting property… I use it… …nevertheless …at least for now. All in all still not a bad buy as value for money is excellent, at least if you get it for a good price. The LeftRight seems to be for sale in very few countries including China, Malaysia and Russia . I am not sure whether Stabilo wants to start selling it in more countries or whether they have realised that something is not right therefore and don’t introduce the leadholder in more markets.
2011 is the year Faber-Castell celebrates its 250 year anniversary (1761 – 2011). Stephen from penciltalk told me about an anniversary set of 6 Castell 9000 pencils that was for sale on eBay. Faber-Castell gave these away at this year’s Paperworld trade fair. Unlike the centennial tins with 12 and 72 pencils, this tin does not contain the normal Castell 9000 pencils you can buy in shops, but Castell 9000 pencils with 1761 – 2011 * 250 years printed on them. They are not available in shops (yet), but according to comments on Faber-Castell’s facebook page Faber-Castell seems to consider producing them for sale. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
Stabilo celebrates the 40th anniversary of their Boss Highlighters. As part of this anniversary there is a giveaway from Tiger Pens, where you can win Boss mugs, and a game from Stabilo where you can win Boss mugs, USB sticks and other prizes (there are different prizes for different countries).
Staedtler‘s historic pencil construction kit will unfortunately not be available in shops. The good news: you can order these kits directly from Staedtler for € 5 each. You can also get Staedtler’s historic Lumograph tin (100 M12H: € 16.20), the historic Tradition tin (Nr. 110 M12H: € 14.40) and the historic Noris tin (Nr. 120 M12H: € 9.60) directly from Staedtler. All of these special items are only available while stocks last. The historic pencil construction kit is not available yet, but can already be ordered.
The photo of Stephen Wiltshire using a Staedtler Tradition has been taken from Top Gear Episode 5 of Series 14 and has been used previously in a blog post from March 2010 about the Staedtler tradition. I believe that the use of this image falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.