Noris in the wild

Here’s my (incomplete) collection of Noris spottings in the wild.

In computers


An icon I used to see on a daily basis, it looks like the Noris. Found in Okular, the document viewer in KDE 4.

In advertising

Staedtler’s pencils’ image as typical pencils means that you can see them often when an association with school is needed or in related advertising, as in the example seen on the right. The advertising, probably created specifically for the UK and Ireland, was on a phone booth. A Staedtler Noris can be seen, even though the film is from the USA, where the Noris is not officially distributed and not available.

In the next example Harvey Nichols, a posh department store, used Noris look-alikes in their shop window to advertise perfume – I am not sure what the link between the perfume and the pencils is.

On packaging

A photo of an Alessi sharpener in the shape of a beaver, with a Noris on the packaging.

Notice the Staedtler Noris on the packaging.

Used by celebrities

Neil Gaiman posted this picture of his new pack of Noris pencils in 2016. 

Neil Gaiman's Noris


UK, 1975

Fawlty Towers (British TV series)
Fawlty Towers - Episode 2
Fawlty Towers - Episode 4

In episode 1 they are mainly using Staedtler’s Tradition. In later episodes the Noris is more common. In the second screenshot you can see Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) sharpening his Noris with a knife.

Germany, 1977

Der Alte (German TV series)
Der Alte - Episode 2

UK, 1990

House of Cards (British TV series)
House of Cards - Episode 2

They also had some really nice pen trays in House of Cards.

Italy, 2008

Commissario Montalbano (Italian TV series)

Commissario Montalbano, the famous detective from Sicily, is a keen user of the Staedtler Noris1. Even though he’s driving around in an old Fiat Tipo his home is fantastic and is furnished and and decorated with classic and vintage bits and bobs, just like the grand homes of the criminals he is visiting. The Noris is a suitable pencil for him to use as it is the archetypal European pencil – even though it is a surprising choice as it is clearly a branded item.

Inspector Montalbano is not only a friend of the Noris pencil. He also likes to get his hand on the Noris stick ballpoint pen.

Episode: The Safety Net (Image © RAI)

Germany, 2008

Tatort (German / Austrian / Swiss TV series)

The next screenshot is from episode 705 “Liebeswirren” of German/Austrian/Swiss crime TV series Tatort. One of the actors in this episode from Munich was Christoph Waltz of Inglourious Basterds fame.

Iceland, 2009

Fangavaktin (Icelandic TV series)

Daníel Sævarsson (actor: Jörundur Ragnarsson), one of the main characters from the …vaktin series and from the film Bjarnfreðarson, this time with a Noris in episode two of Fangavaktin.

Denmark, 2010

Borgen (Danish TV series)
Borgen (image cropped) - Season 1 Episode 1

The Danish Prime Minister and his advisor on a trip to England. Each of them has a Staedtler Noris in front of them on the table.

UK, 2010

The Armstrong and Miller Show (British TV series)

You can see Staedtler Tradition and Noris pencils in several school sketches in The Armstrong and Miller Show. Staedtler pencil’s use in The Armstrong and Miller Show is not really surprising. They are common and also to some extent the archetype of a pencil used in British schools.

The Story of England (British TV series)

More exciting Noris spotting from Sean:
The 6-part series from the BBC called The Story of England by Michael Wood features Staedtler pencils in several shots. Here’s a photo from this series, featuring a Welsh-made Noris.

Image © Maya Vision / BBC


Germany, 2012

To celebrate 350 years of Bleiweißsteftmacherhandwerk the Franconian and Bavarian regional news reported live from Staedtler’s factory on 25 September 2012. The reports were only a few minutes long.

UK, 2011

Outnumbered (British TV series)

There is a very small chance that this is a Fox Essentials copy, but I think it’s a Noris – The Fox Essentials has a white eraser.

UK, 2012

Quartet (British film)
Quartet (2012 film directed by Dustin Hoffman)

I haven’t watched this film, but Sean was kind enough to tell me about it and to send me this screenshot.

The Bletchley Circle (British TV series)
The Bletchley Circle (Image © ITV)

Comrade John from the Pencil Revolution sent this screenshot from The Bletchley Circle, a murder mystery set in the famous1 Bletchley Park in 1952. I’m not sure though they would have used a Noris in H there2 – Staedtler took the Royal Sovereign Group over in the 1970s, so the code breakers would have been more likely to use Wolff’s Royal Sovereign.

UK/USA, 2012

Episodes (British TV series)
Episodes (cropped) - Season 2 Episode 2

In Episodes Sean Lincoln (played by Stephen Mangan2 ) is using a Stadtler Noris in the USA, even though it isn’t officially on sale in the USA. The character must have brought it from the UK, the desk is full of Noris pencils ..or, in the real world, this scene might have been filmed in the UK.

 UK 2012

Shaun the Sheep is using a Noris. Who would have thought. Yes, it is a cartoon version of a Noris, but it is unmistakably a Noris. Nice!

Shaun's Noris (Image © Aardman Animations)
Shaun’s Noris (Image © Aardman Animations)
Shaun's Noris (Image © Aardman Animations)
Shaun’s Noris (Image © Aardman Animations)

UK, 2013

Bach: A Passionate Life (British TV documentary) 
Bach: A Passionate Life (image cropped) (Image © Leopard Films)

I haven’t watched this documentary either, but Sean was kind enough to tell me about it and to send me this screenshot.

France, 2014

Engrenages (French TV series)

A Noris in the first episode of the fifth season, used by juge Roban.

Juge Roban's pencil
Juge Roban’s pencil

UK, 2014

Uncle (British TV series)

Noris in Episode 3 of Uncle. This episode gives you the opportunity to admire the Noris in Nick Helm’s right and left hand and in his mouth.

Uncle (Image © Baby Cow Productions / BBC)
The Game (British TV series)

MI5’s Alan Montag is using a Staedtler Noris. There are a lot of pencils in the series, but usually they are unidentifiable yellow/orange pencils.

Alan Montag listening in with a Noris
Alan Montag listening in with a Noris

UK, 2015

Make me Welsh (British TV documentary)

A documentary about schools in Wales, featuring the Noris (formerly made in Wales).

Pensiliau Cymraeg (Image © BBC Cymru)
Pensiliau Cymraeg (Image © BBC Cymru)

…and another documentary, this time about using Chinese teaching methods in a British school.

Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School (Image © BBC)
Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School (Image © BBC)
Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School (Image © BBC)
Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School (Image © BBC)

A Noris at the cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board’s “” interviews fast bowler Mark Wood after the team’s match against Pakistan A.  The reporter has tucked an end dipped Noris HB (by the looks of the dip’s colour) behind his ear.

Image © ECB
Image © ECB

UK, 2015

Upcycling with a Noris

Another Noris in the wild. This time: during Saturday evening prime time on Channel 4 ..on George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.

Upcycling expert Max McMurdo is using a Noris to design a floating home, built from a shipping container.

Max McMurdo using a Staedtler Noris pencil
Max McMurdo using a Staedtler Noris (Image © Channel 4)

Belgium, 2015

Professor T’s Noris

A Noris in several episodes of the Belgian TV series Professor T. The Staedtler Noris belongs to inspecteur Daan De Winter, played by Bart Hollanders.

UK, 2018


10 Noris in 9 seconds in the second episode of the fourth season of the Channel 4 TV series Catastrophe.

France, 2019

French police procedural and legal drama series doesn’t disappoint when it comes to the Staedtler Noris.

Denmark/UK, 2021

A Noris being used in Copenhagen, seen in the UK on BBC News.

Germany, 2021

The Noris on the cover of a single by Von Wegen Lisbeth.

USA/Spain, 2022

A Noris in Skydance’s movie “Luck”.

I believe that the use of the screen shots of the Noris pencils falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

1 thought on “Noris in the wild”

  1. Pingback: Mit Noris durch Europa – Lexikaliker

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