Denmark


Tiger’s Blackwing

You might have noticed that it’s been very quiet here on Bleistift. That’s not because I lost interest in pencils, but because my job has been keeping me more than busy. Just in case you wonder – no: I didn’t change jobs and didn’t get promoted. In the past, there were up to fifteen blog posts a month, but for now, probably up to and including January there won’t be many blog posts. I might also have to suspend the Pencil Pot of the Month series for now. A shame as it has been running continuously for exactly 24 months – the two years from October 2015 until September 2017. I will, however, try to give occasional life signs every now and then, like I do today, until blogging can resume again as usual.

Since we’re talking about the Pencil Pot of the Month: the one from August 2016 was from the Danish chain ‘Tiger’ which has a shop in the city where I live. The last purchase I made there was Tiger’s version of the Blackwing pencil.

Tiger’s Blackwing

In today’s ‘life sign’ I want to talk about this new Blackwing copy. If you read pencil blogs, and if you are here you do, the Blackwing probably doesn’t need any introduction. CalCedar’s remake of the Blackwing doesn’t need any introduction either. Well, now it’s not the only remake anymore. As mentioned aboveTiger, also known as Flying Tiger Copenhagen, introduced one, too.

Tiger’s Blackwing

In the introduction I wrote that I am quite busy, so am not following what’s going on in the pencil fandom (with very few exceptions). That’s why I didn’t know that there seems to be some controversy going on about the new Danish Blackwing remake. I was told that apparently, some CalCedar/Palomino Blackwing fanboys are pretty upset about there being a copy of the Blackwing. I don’t know what arguments have been made or where they have been made, but here are my initial thoughts after having used the Danish Blackwing for a while.

Ship of Theseus

We could start by talking about the Ship of Theseus and what makes the CalCedar Blackwing a descendant of the original, but in reality I don’t see much of a link.

Well, what happened is: the Theseus sunk. Somebody else registered another ship under the same name.

Here’s why. There used to be a pencil called Blackwing. The company behind it stopped making this pencil. The owner of the trademark didn’t renew the trademark so it lapsed. An unrelated company took the trademark and manufactured a similar looking pencil, the main similarity being the characteristic ferrule. The lead recipe is different. It’s made in a completely different country. There is no continuity, nothing that links the original and the remake except the name ..and with me being German I am automatically reminded of the German saying “names are but noise and smoke” (apparently this saying is from Goethe).

A real Blackwing and Tiger’s Blackwing

The Theseus example doesn’t apply because the original Theseus sunk. There’s a new Theseus. There’s a new Blackwing. In the end York and New York have more of a link1 than the Blackwing and the new Blackwing.

With that in mind, I think the Danish Blackwing is as much a modern Blackwing as the CalCedar one. Actually, I like it even more than the CalCedar remake, because it actually keeps the point. Something I don’t like about the Palomino Blackwing, as explained in my 2010 blog post about this pencil. If you write small with Tiger’s Blackwing you don’t have to sharpen it every few words often. Ok, the wood on the Danish2 one doesn’t look as good, but I can buy 4 for £1, so 12 are £3, whereas 12 CalCedar ones are £29.95 in the UK, nearly exactly ten times as expensive. For such a price difference I take the one that keeps the point ..and is therefore usable for my purposes3 any day.

PS: What a shame that Tiger didn’t put 602 in the item or barcode number, then I could have referred to the Tiger Blackwing as a 602.


If you want to find out more about the Blackwing and its history visit the Blackwing Pages.

 

  1. They used to be ruled by the same empire []
  2. ..but Made in China []
  3. Your mileage may vary. If you are an artist you might be after a different pencil than me. []

Pencil Pot Of The Month – August 2016

Description: A pencil pot that looks like a wheelie bin

Price: £2 (~$2.63; €2.35) for a black or a red one

Material: Plastic

Wheelie bin pencil pots

Wheelie bin pencil pots

Further information: Seen in a Tiger store. Tiger is a Danish retail chain. I’ve bought stationery there in the past. In one of his videos TJ Cosgrove mentioned that he is using their notebooks, but I haven’t tried those yet. While in the shop anyway I bought their copy of Google Cardboard for £3.

Some other stationery they were promoting

Some other stationery they were promoting


Price and exchange rates: August 2016


A Viking invasion 3

The Vikings are coming

No one expects a Viking invasion1

…and when it’s coming there’s no escape.

Luckily I, Langskæg2, got invaded by the trading, not the raiding kind of Viking, thanks to Henrik’s generosity. You might know Henrik, who is from Denmark, from his comments on different stationery blogs.

How a full blown Viking invasion looks like.

How a full blown Viking invasion looks like.

Viking outside Denmark

Unfortunately Viking is one of those brands that is not very well known outside its home country. I hope that will change in the future. From my point of view Viking got most exposure in the English speaking stationery world when their products where released as past of the 2012 Rad and Hungry Denmark kit and the 2014 Rad and Hungry Denmark kit and booster pack. Rad and Hungry are also currently working with Viking to release their own notebooks and pencils, how exciting is that…

 

Viking’s history – a round trip from Denmark to Sweden and back

The Viking brand was registered in 1913 and the first pencils were produced 100 years ago, in 19143, when the Danish matchstick factory H. E. Gosch started making pencils. The pencil branch of the matchstick factory was the brainchild of Folmer Preisler, who married the daughter of the matchstick factory’s owner. The beginning wasn’t easy, but after the two World Wars Viking was doing well. Their problems only started in the early 1970s, when a Swedish competitor bought the matchstick factory which, at that time, was still Viking’s parent. Just some context: At that time the Swedish matchstick maker Svenska Tändsticksaktiebolaget had a monopoly in Europe and many other parts of the world – when I was a kid these were the only matchsticks you could get (they had a monopoly in Germany from 1930 until 1983). After being taken over the Danish pencil factories closed down – the new owner was not interest in pencils. Later Viking ended up with Esselte, who used to own Dymo and who still owns Leitz. In 2010 Viking became Danish again when it was bought by Creas. Since Creas took over they started moving production back to Denmark or as close to Denmark as possible. They also put an emphasis on simple, good design and environmentally friendly production.

 

My Vikings

I’m really excited about trying out the new Vikings I have received from Henrik. The ones I have used so far, from Rad and Hungry, were very nice writers! A while ago I decided to produce shorter blog posts in the future, to make them less boring, so I won’t talk about the Viking stationery now but will write more about the them in a future blog post.

 


I’d like to thank Henrik for all the nice Viking stationery I have received. He’s not linked to Viking, doesn’t work in stationery and paid for the goods out of his own pocket.

Nearly all of the information in the Viking history paragraph was taken from Viking’s web site.

You can see more Viking products on their Danish web site.

 

  1. Their chief weapon is surprise… surprise and fear… fear and surprise… Their two weapons are fear and surprise… and ruthless efficiency… Their three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency… and an almost fanatical devotion to stationery… Their four… no… Amongst their weapons… Amongst their weaponry …are such elements as fear, surprise… I’ll better leave that now and continue the blog post… []
  2. the viking name given to be by Henrik []
  3. To commemorate the 100th anniversary Viking has released the Viking 100, a fountain pen (top right in the picture). []

Stationery weekend 10

What a stationery weekend.

First… Sean told me that Graf von Faber Castell’s pen of the year was announced1.

Rad and Hungry Denmark booster pack

The Denmark Booster pack

Then… I got the Pelikan Wanderlust box (pictures to follow). It’s a box with Pelikan ink travelling the world. I was supposed to get mine in December, but the box seems to be travelling to some remote islands and I was told it was held up in customs2.

Rad and Hungry Denmark booster pack

Danske blyanter

Then… I got the Denmark booster pack I won in Rad and Hungry‘s hunt. Nice!

Rad and Hungry Denmark booster pack

…from the misfits stack

  1. More about the previous years’ pens here. []
  2. It’s too late now to join Wanderlust, but Justanotherpen started a similar project. []