My July also came to a nice end: our family was lucky enough to spend a few days in Northern Italy (to celebrate a special occasion). We were near Lake Garda and it was really beautiful. There were lots of Germans and Austrians in that area. I am not surprised. It’s not that far to drive from Austria or Southern Germany. There was of course also some stationery to see, which I want to share with you.
Once I ordered Cotoletta di Pollo. It came with fries which were served on a reproduction of an old British newspaper.
Did you spot it? Let’s do a close-up.
There’s fountain pen advertising in the corner. Richt click and open in a new tab to see how much you can save on a Fleet Pen ;^P
In Verona, I also came across a shop selling posh fountain pens. I love the Pelikan sign outside the shop.
You might know that Staedtler’s Noris is my favourite. I was happy to see this Noris stand in Malcesine.
In that shop, they also sold other, nice stationery.
I couldn’t resist and brought these items back from my trip: Turkish paper clips, Italian paper and German/Chinese pencils. I have covered Lyra’s Temagraph in the past, but now I also have one in 3B 8^D.
In a Pizzeria I managed to see a calendar hanging from the wall, much like the ones shown in the past. The one I saw seemed to be from the tax authority (I think). Stationery-filled holidays are even better than normal holidays 8^)
Today: TV series and pop culture themed pencils. You might have previously seen them at BoingBoing.
Scotland and England
These are actually Chambers pencils that are hand stamped in Glasgow using hot foil stamping. The pencils I have received had the quotes written in gold coloured, upper case characters. I assume all Popcult pencils are like that, with the colour of the body and the quote itself being the main difference between different sets.
Chambers is an English company that started in 1913 and then, 99 years ago, became F.Chambers & Co Ltd. As far as I know they now belong to Italy’s Fila and have stopped producing pencils in the UK. The Chambers pencils used by La La Land, the people behind the Popcult pencils, are made in Thailand.
Many of the eraser tipped pencils have themes from TV series or movies. The level of accuracy varies. While Star Wars gets proper quotes, including “No, I am your father” instead of “Luke, I am your father”, Star Trek has to suffer the ‘fake’ quote “Beam me up Scotty” – but that doesn’t really matter, I guess.
Price and colours
In March I bought the “Star Trek pack of 3 blue stamped pencils” and the “Breaking Bad pack of 3 green stamped pencils” for £3.50 each plus £2 shipping, so £9 (~$15.20; €11) in total for six pencils. Unfortunately I didn’t realise that the colour in the article description is not linked to the colour of the actual product. I ended up getting the same colour for both, Breaking Bad and Star Trek pencils (meth blue / TOS Science blue), instead of the expected colours as seen on their web site. I was told that there is a disclaimer on the etsy shop page that states that colour may vary as they sometimes run out of certain colours, but I didn’t notice the disclaimer when ordering and my personal opinion is that it might be better to remove the colour from the product description and to make the disclaimer more obvious.
The pencils do perform surprisingly well. For my taste point retention could be better, but reading other blogs I get the impression that generally point retention is not a big issue for most pencil users. If you are happy to use a B or even a 2B pencil you certainly shouldn’t have any issues with these pencils’ point retention.
As stated earlier, the pencils are made in Thailand, so I thought I compare them to some other Thai pencils. By coincidence the Thai pencils I want to compare them to also have a Scottish link: they’re from John Lewis. I would describe them as Mongol copies or Mongol type pencils, but as you can see, in comparison with a real Mongol they exhibit a more aggressive shade of yellow. A dozen of these Mongol type pencils used to cost £1.50. I’m not sure whether the price has changed since I bought these, I should check next time I go to a John Lewis store.
Except point retention, mentioned earlier, these pencils are surprisingly good. The John Lewis pencil feels a bit smoother though, and slightly darker, with slightly worse point retention. The John Lewis eraser is also smoother and cleaner, but I guess that doesn’t really matter. People buy the Popcult pencils because of the quotes, not because of superior performance – and for novelty pencils they are really good!
Sarah from La La Land let me know that they have updated the shop with new photos showing the exact colour the buyer will receive. I think she might also get a new quote for the Star Trek set I don’t think any Star Trek fan dislikes “Beam me up Scotty”, it just hasn’t been said in the TV series..
Price (except John Lewis pencils) and exchange rates: May 2014.
I’d like to thank Sarah from La La Land for the additional information she has provided regarding the Popcult pencils.
Assumed origin: from Greek thema + -graph: An instrument for writing about a topic, theme or proposition
The Temagraph has been available for some time now, but in the past it was only available under the Fila brand name. You can see pictures of the old Fila Temagraph at Lápis and Pencils and at pencil talk. After Fila (Italy) bought Dixon (USA) and Lyra (Germany) they started ‘adjusting’ their products, including the Temagraph. The Temagraph suddenly started to look pretty much like the Dixon Ticonderoga (metallic green font on a yellow pencil) and is now marketed It’s advertising includes promises such as “The best designers choose the excellent lines of Temagraph pencils.” and “The best illustrators choose the clean line left by … Continue reading as a Lyra pencil, rather than as a Fila pencil.
Two sides of the pencil are a labelled. The Temagraph side is labelled in metallic green. Opposite is the barcode side, labelled in black. The Temagraph has a end cap similar to the Noris, indicating lead hardness, but with a straight line around the corners.
The FSC code on the packaging doesn’t leave any doubt about the Temagraph being linked to the Ticonderoga. The certificate is linked to the Beijing Fila Dixon Stationery Co., LtdTimberlines has further information about the Chinese manufacturer of these pencils. and shows that the pencil is made using Tilia spp., which includes many species of linden trees (also called lime trees or basswood).
Even though it is officially a Lyra pencil (and Lyra is/was a German brand) I have never seen this pencil in any shop in Germany. It dos however seem to be more popular in Fila’s home country Italy. When looking for the Temagraph on Amazon UK I could only find Italian sellers offering this pencil. Mine are from a local shop in Germany. They didn’t stock any, but a few years ago I asked them to order a few for me.
The Temagraph feels fairly smooth and puts down a very dark line. As you might have guessed from the fact that it’s a dark line – the lead rather soft, which means that point retention is not as good as it is with a normal pencil. In my case that means that I’m happy to use the Temagraph for writing the occaional sentence (think calendar entries), but I wouldn’t want to use it write a lot as it would need sharpening too often.
The Eisen 480
I sharpened the Temagraph with Eisen’s model 480. The Eisen 480 sharpens with an angle of approx. 21°. It’s a container sharpener that comes with an eraser, to some extent similar to the Faber-Castell Sharpener-eraser pen 18 44 01. The container for the shavings can be rotated and will lock in one of two positions: sharpener accessible and sharpener closed, to prevent shavings from falling out.
The eraser comes with a lid and fits exactly under the lid. Eraser performance is good. It’s a TPR (thermoplastic rubber) eraser that produces strands that roll together, to some extent similar to a dust-free eraser, but not as extreme, but eraser performance overall is no match for the excellent performance of the sharpener, which produces a nice, continuous strand of shavings with a thickness of about 0.2 mm. The blade is made in Baiersdorf, the container is made in Taicang, where assembly takes place, and the eraser is bought in.
The grey background in the photos (except the last photo) is from Atoma’s Alain Bertreau notebook. I placed the items in the A4 version of this notebook.
I bought the Temagraph in Germany, but can’t remember how much I paid for them.
I have received the Eisen 480 as a free sample from Eisen. Mr. Leistner provided further information. I don’t believe that, when I received the sample, Eisen was aware that I have a blog. I also don’t believe that not having paid for this sharpener has influenced my opinion of the sharpener in any way.
It’s advertising includes promises such as “The best designers choose the excellent lines of Temagraph pencils.” and “The best illustrators choose the clean line left by Temagraph pencils! Superior quality, gold series, fine graphite for clean-cut lines, Temagraph pencils come with an extra-resistant and easy to sharpen and original green metal band indicating the grade.” Despite this promise the green band isn’t made from metal. I’m also not sure though what the green band is resistant to, why you would want to sharpen it. The green band doesn’t indicate the grade either. I’m not sure whether the best illustrators really choose the Temagraph, so like with a lot of advertising I choose not to believe this until I see proof supporting this statement.
Has the current Ticonderoga been developed in Korea?
Pencil talk mentioned that the different version of this pencil have different cores. This could also mean that not the whole pencil, but that only the core for the Korean version has been developed there – to fit local preferences.
Other Fila pencils I have at my disposal do not emphasise where they have been developed. A pack of Lyra pencils has this sentence printed on the packaging: “Made in China under LYRA-Germany quality standards”, while Dixon pencil packaging only states where the pencils have been produced: Triconderoga: “Made in Mexico”, Ticonderoga Renew: “Made in USA”.
FILA’s global pencil
The Triconderoga blister pack comes with a fantastic sharpener from Eisen.
I would like to thank Kent for the AMOS DIXON Ticonderoga.
I would like to thank Sean for the Triconderoga and the Ticonderoga Renew.