By Type


Zebra’s Tiny TS-3 2

Ten years ago I bought Zebra’s tiny TS-3 mechanical pencil. Back then it cost £2.50. These days it’s a bit more expensive, but is still quite affordable.

You’d think that a pencil with such a small size, it’s only 10 cm long and has a diameter of just over 5 mm, it can only be used if no better pencil is available..

..but the truth is that it’s much more comfortable to use than many other emergency pencil, i.e. the kind of pencil that comes with some of the Swiss Army Knives.

In May I put a video review online that provides some more information about this pencil.

Compared to a selection of other mechanical pencils the Zebra TS-3 is tiny

It might not be your best choice for a daily writer, but it’s certainly a good choice for a pencil you can store in a pocket or bag so that you have a mechanical pencil when you need it. The comfort to size ratio is certainly better than what you might expect.

 


The Kaweco Special 0.5 Push Pencil Black 1

The video for the Kaweco Special 0.5 Push Pencil Black has been added to my YouTube channel in April, so it’s high time to follow with the blog post for this nice mechanical pencil.

All the useful bits of information about this pencil can be found in the video itself, where I had a look at the 0.5mm version. There is also a 0.7 mm, a 0.9 mm and a 2 mm version.

I only cover the black aluminium version, but there is also a brass version.

While the body is made from aluminium, the front section seems tobe made from plastic. It does look pretty sturdy, though.

The pencil doesn’t come with the clip. If you like the clip you have to order it separately.
Compared to other mechanical pencils I reviewed recently the Kaweco Special has a larger diameter (so is furthest right in the chart below).

Compared to a selection of other mechanical pencils the Kaweco Special has the largest body diameter

There is no ‘dedicated grip section’, it’s just the front of the body, so this pencil is again leading the pack in terms of diameter.

Compared to a selection of other mechanical pencils the Kaweco Special has the largest grip diameter

The actual mechanism in the Special is from Japan and does contain plastic parts, but seems quite sturdy and should last many decades.


Lamy’s cp1 Multi Pen – Pencil Plus Highlighter In One

This blog post was first published on The Pen Company’s blog in April 2018.

1974 is a special year: In the USA, Star Trek: The Animated Series got cancelled; in the UK, ABBA won the Eurovision song contest in Brighton with their song, ‘Waterloo’; in China the Terracotta army was discovered; and in Germany, the VW Golf and the Lamy cp1 multifunction pen were launched.

I’m happy to say that the cp1 pen/pencil is still with us today, so many years later. Designed by Gerd A. Müller, who also designed the Lamy 2000, the cp1 has seen quite a few additions to the line over the years — Lamy’s design history page shows that the twin pen was the first off the line, but there’s also a fountain pen, ballpoint pen, rollerball, mechanical pencil and tri (multifunction) pen in the cp1 series.

The Lamy cp1 twin multifunction pen lets you switch between a 0.5 mm mechanical pencil and a ballpoint pen. My cp1 has Lamy’s M55 orange highlighter refill instead of a normal ballpoint refill. This way I can write with the pencil in my diary but can also highlight anything that needs further attention.

You’ll find more information in my video review below:


Wörther’s Shorty 6

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.

 


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

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.