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Raymond Briggs (*1934 †2022)

The famous illustrator Raymond Briggs has died. In the UK he is most famous for The Snowman, but I assume that in many other countries When the wind blows is more famous. Both stories were made into movies which seem to have surpassed the original stories’ popularity.

A Mars Lumograph in the Lupus Films Studio, used to produce The Snowman and the snowdog (© Rare Day)

There’s only one Ramyond Briggs related blog post: The 2013 blog post The Snowman and The Snowdog presents some information about the sequel to The Snowman film.

A broken Orenz

If you read Bleistift blog regularly you might have noticed that I really like the Pentel Orenz. I think it’s the best sliding sleeve pencil since Staedtler’s Microfix.

The sliding sleeve works well and the pencil’s design is great, too, but unfortunately there is one weakness in the design that caused one of my Orenz mechanical pencils an issue: The metal clip is very close to the push button and there is only a very narrow strip of plastic to hold it in place. This narrow strip of plastic is will have to bear the brunt of any outward pressure the springiness of the clip cannot handle.

If you regularly clip the pencil onto slightly thicker pockets (or notebooks etc) the plastic will weaken over time and will eventually break off. In my case I regularly carry the Orenz in a pen pocket on my jacket. The pen pocket is not that thick, but apparently thick enough to cause this issue.

If you are squeamish please look away, the following photos, showing pencil mutilations, are not a sight for the faint hearted.

When the plastic from my Orenz broke off I didn’t initially notice as I was in a meeting. I just noticed that, when holding the pencil, the clip seems to be very loose.

Some closer inspection revealed the true horror and damage, though.

Here is a comparison how this looks like on an undamaged Orenz.

Please keep your Orenzes safe…

Nearly ten years of The Pen Addict Podcast

Christmas, as well as the New Year, are coming closer. It will be nice to have a few quiet days with less work, and no doubt many Bleistift readers will want to catch up with everyone’s favourite stationery podcast over the holidays.

It’s hard to believe that the Pen Addict podcast will be ten years old in 2022.

I thought I use this opportunity to update the Pen Addict ‘statistics’ I posted in preparation for the 300th episode. In 2018, at the time of that blog post the episodes got around five minutes longer per year and I made a tongue in cheek comment that that episode 1000 they should be more than two hours long. It’s a bit like the (infamous) forecast that in the future everyone will be an Elvis impersonator.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the rate of episode length increase wasn’t sustained over time. Below is the latest version of the diagram showing the episode length over time.

Each dot represents an episode. Early episodes are on the left, recent episodes are on the right. Short episodes are at the bottom, long episodes are at the top.

I marked the outliers on the image below. At the top right, in red, we got the longest ever episode, episode 450, clocking in at 133 minutes. At the bottom left we got episode 33, one of the few episodes with an episode number that is greater than its length in minutes (episode 46 is another one of those).

Please have a look at the Pen Addict Podcast page on stationery.wiki. You can easily sort all episodes, e.g. by length, by clicking on the little arrows in the header row and explore all episodes. We’d also be happy if you contribute to the other stationery knowledge recorded there. It’s a resource available to everyone.

You will have also noticed the more horizontal lines in the diagram. The black line is a straight linear regression line. The blue curve is a LOESS (local regression) curve, which is a bit more ‘flexible’ than the straight line.

In the image below you can see that in the first years (marked as ‘a’), until about 2015, we had a strong increase in episode lengths, mainly caused by the fact that early episodes were rather short. From then on, until about 2018 (marked as ‘b’) we had a very slow increase in episode lengths and since then (marked as ‘c’) we have a slow decrease in episode lengths. In the last few weeks he had an average length of about one hour per episode. The LOESS curve is moving (roughly) from 65 minutes per episode to 60 minutes per episode.

I hope you enjoy the holidays (if there holidays wherever you might be). If you have some time on your hands, please catch up with your favourite podcast and/or contribute to our stationery.wiki.
As usual, the data and the code used for this plot are available on GitHub. This time it is also available on kaggle.

Trimline 3594

Dixon Trimline 3594

Discovered in our Scout group’s hut, this American-made Dixon Trimline not only made it into Europe, it also managed to survive several decades hidden between other pencils and kept in pristine condition.

Notice the slim and elegant font and the blind-stamped U.S.A., left of the writing.

A smidge of the beautiful orange paints seems to have made it’s way into some of the knurling on the ferrule.

The last photo ended up a bit blurry, but if you are using a computer to read this then please have a closer look at this pencil by clicking on the (other) photos to admire this pencil’s details.

Lego, Uni and …Sean

In the last few weeks I came across a few interesting items I want to share with you.

Lego

Lego’s mechanical pencil, the one that looks uncomfortable to hold, has been discontinued. Some shops still stock it, though. If you want one you better hurry. I was able to resist (so far).

Image © Lego

Emott

(you might have seen this one on the Bleistift Twitter feed)

Uni Mitsubishi’s Emott series will see the addition of 0.9 mm Emott pencils on 24 September 2021. Three different ‘colour groups’ (refresh, tropical and nostalgic) will be availble at launch. To me these mechanical pencils feel a bit like a modern day version of Faber-Castell’s Colormatics.

The Fineliner pens from the Emott series have been available in the West for some time now. I hope the mechanical pencils make it here, too.

Sean Malone

Cynic released a tribute song for Sean, our dear pencil friend who passed away far too soon.

You can find out more at Loudwire. Thanks to Stephen for letting me know about this.


The images of the Lego mechanical pencil has been taken from the Lego web site. I believe that the use of these images falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.