Made in Germany


Pencils for score keeping

My ‘baseball pencil’ choice

Last month Josha from the Netherlands sent me an email. He is using pencils for the purpose of keeping score during baseball games. He wrote:

For baseball score keeping addicts, like myself and many others out there, there are three important things to a pencil:
1. lead must not smear
2. a good sharpener so you can use the pencil without sharpening too often during a match (which can take up to three and a half hours)
3. a good eraser.
(4th optional: a good red pencil!!)

Pencil (graphite) and no sharpener

Keeping all the requirements in mind my first idea for a graphite pencil is a Mars Lumograph in F. It doesn’t smear and will keep the point for a long time. I have written many pages of text in meetings with the Lumograph in F, without sharpening, so I think it should be able to survive 3½h of writing of score keeping.

Eraser

There is no eraser tipped version of the Lumograph, so I would take a dust free eraser with me. My favourite type of eraser. You can get them from Faber-Castell (in big and small), Staedtler, Tombow and many other brands.

Red pencil

Josha explains:

The red pencils are commonly used for tho things: number the strike-outs and underline red handed players. So they’re mostly used for writing numbers.

As a good red pencil that keeps the point for while I would go for the Staedtler Noris colour, made from Wopex material, or the Mitsubishi 7700. Both pencils have been covered in this previous blog post. Mitsubishi’s 7700 line was stopped, but luckily the red 7700 is still available.

As described in that blog post the Mitsubishi creates a darker shade of red on the paper (…at least when used with 1.8 N and an angle of 90° while moving along the paper with 25 mm/s. The pencils will behave differently under different conditions).

Mitsubishi 7700 #15 RedNoris colour, a similar shade of red
Sample:m15Histogram:
hbm15
Sample:ncredHistogram:hbncred

The comments from Josha’s Instagram account imply that he is selling notebooks he made for baseball score keeping. I don’t have further information and didn’t try to explore this further. I just liked matching the pencil requirements to real world pencils.


Exciting new colours from Kaweco 14

You might have noticed that guest posts are few and far between on Bleistift, so it’s even more exciting when there is one. The one today is from my wife who you might have seen on Instagram and Twitter as Paperbound’s PingPing.


If you are into Kaweco’s special colours you might have come across the Al Sport in rosé gold which was available in Taiwan, Macao and HongKong. It’s simple, stylish, and yet sophisticated!

A couple of days ago I came across the exciting news of more special colours that Kaweco are releasing in Asia end of September. Sebastian Gutberlet has confirmed that for the first year these will only be available for the Chinese market. This means that in the future there’s the possibility that these colours will be released to the rest of the world.

New Kaweco colours for China

New Kaweco colours for China (Image ©wfjsb)

There are three colours for the new release. They are (to my eyes): black blue for the Sport, grey green for the Sport, and red for the Al Sport. As a pocket pen lover, I use Kaweco’s (Al) Sport and Lamy’s Pico and compared the red colour of this latest edition with my lovely Lamy Pico in red. Well, from what I can tell, the Kaweco Al Sport is slightly lighter (pinkish) than the Lamy Pico, while still having the amazing sheen. Personally, I’d go for the red Al Sport ☺️.


I believe that the use of wfjsb’s image shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.


Fake! 6

This is a public service announcement. <Muzak playing in the background>

Many of our citizens have already been affected by a new type of fraud. The shameless fraudster don’t stop their relentless efforts to cheat us out of our well deserved stationery, working on schemes to exploit our deep desires for luxurious writing instruments.

The latest victim of the fraudsters is one of the staple pencils found in the office supply cabinet of bankers and dictators of small countries, the Graf von Faber-Castell Eine Cassette * hochfeiner Taschenbleistifte * Nr. II, versilbert.

Luckily, the forger behind this fake pencil that offers incredible resemblance to the original Graf von Faber-Castell made a tiny, but important mistake. This means that the fake pencil can be spotted without the need for carbon dating:
Unlike the real pencil, which is inscribed “Graf von Faber-Castell” the forger must have been a bit too much of a Tom Selleck fan and inscribed the cap ‘Magnum’. Open the picture in a new tab to compare the details. They also seem to have used a TiTi Kyung In T-Prime which had repeated appearances in this blog since 2009.

If you have any tips that could lead to the arrest of the forger please contact the Posh Stationery department of your local anti fraud organisation.


Just to spell it out to avoid misunderstandings: I can’t say this is a popular pencil (it’s not a popular Montblanc model) so I doubt anyone (other than myself for the photos in this blog post) would create a fake version.


Wonderful World of Wopex – The Neon Line 4

Welcome to a new series of blog posts about Staedtler’s Wopex pencils.

The idea is to collect information about Wopex pencils while details are still available. By now several bloggers, including me, had to find out that stationery manufacturers don’t always store information about their products and in my opinion it would be a shame to lose the existing knowledge about these products.

Wopex -> 180

A quick introduction:
As explained in the past Staedtler has changed the way it’s using the term Wopex. Instead of calling the pencils Wopex the term is now only used to describe the material these pencils are made from. This started in 2015 and by now you won’t find any Wopex labelled pencils anymore on the German Staedtler web site. Instead these pencils are sold as the Noris eco or as the Staedtler 1801. In other markets, mainly South Africa, you can also get the Tradition eco, a Wopex based version of the Tradition, similar to the Noris eco.

Outside Germany you can however still find pencils with the Wopex label printed on them. In the UK there are quite a few of those sets left. I assume this means that for now they are still made – I can’t imagine all of them to be old stock from before 2015 – but who knows…

Neon Line

Staedtler’s Neon Line was introduced at Frankfurt’s Paperworld in January 2013. Neon refers to the fluoresent body of these pencils. The pencils themselves contain normal Wopex graphite leads.

Back then the pencils were still Wopex labelled, but the latest Neon Line pencils are sold without Wopex or even 180 printed on the front of the cover.

The different pencils

The Neon Line includes the following pencils

  • neon yellow – article number: 180 HB-F1
  • neon orange – article number: 180 HB-F4
  • neon pink – article number: 180 HB-F20
  • neon purple – article number: 180 HB-F61
  • neon green – article number: 180 HB-F50
  • neon blue – article number: 180 HB-F30

The different sets

There are different versions of this set, including sets with erasers and sharpeners. The current Staedtler UK web site lists different sets:

  • Article number: 180F BK3-1 a blistercard containing one HB pencil each in neon yellow, neon pink, neon purple
  • Article number: 180FSBK3-1 as above, but with a black eraser and a black sharpener
  • Article number: 180F BK3-2 a blistercard containing one HB pencil each in neon green, neon orange, neon blue
  • Article number: 180FSBK3-2 as above, but with a black eraser and a black sharpener
  • Article number: 180F BK6 a blistercard with all six colours
  • Article number: 180F BK12 a blistercard with twelve pencils (all six colours)

 


This information has also been added to the Stationery Wiki.

I would like to thank Benedikt Schindler for the historic information found in this blog post

  1. From the beginning ‘180’ were the first digits of the Wopex article numbers. []

Lamy’s Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean pens 4

Sticking to the Lamy theme from the recent blog post about blue Lamy Safari fountain pens from the 1990s and now we’ve got another Lamy blog post today: Their special edition pens you normally don’t see in the West: the Pirates of the Caribbean (Dead Men Tell no Tales) and the Star Wars pens.

Lamy’s Special Editions

Lady’s special editions follow a similar recipe: Take Lamy’s Line Friends Safari, for example. It’s a Safari with a different colour and a clip attachment. The colour of the special editions isn’t always different and the main difference of these special editions to their ‘normal’ counterparts is the clip attachment. They also often have extras (converter, special packaging) and a higher price.

I’ve shown a few different Lamy shops in Shanghai. Here’s one I haven’t shown yet: The one in the Jing An Kerry Centre1.

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pirates of the Carribean themed pen looks like a Safari in the current Petrol colour with clip attachement in the shape of a jolly roger skull. You also get a converter and a leather roll as part of your set.

The Pirates pen on the left and the leather roll in the background. Excuse the reflections in the photo. The pen was behind glass.

Star Wars

The Star Wars themed pens are Lamy joy2 fountain pens. If you are not familiar with the joy: the front section is the same as the Safari’s, but the main body is much longer. It is kind of a desk only version of the Safari. Desk only because the long body makes it unsuitable for easy transport3.

The Star Wars joys have ‘normal’ nibs. I mention this because the joy is also available as a calligraphy set with italic nibs of different widths.

The black joy comes with a Vader clip attachment. The white joy comes with a Stormtrooper themed clip attachment.

The price is only slightly higher than the price of a normal Lamy joy in Shanghai: A normal joy is ¥380 (~$56; £44; €50). The Star Wars set is ¥4184 (~$$62; £48; €55). It comes with a converter.

 

You pay more, you get more

The price of the Lamy pens in Shanghai is a bit higher than in the West, but you also get more. The pens I’ve seen in Shanghai often come in nice boxes I haven’t seen in Europe. They also often seem to include converters that would be charged extra in the West.

The special edition pens are only slightly more expensive than the normal editions5.

The Safari Petrol. I believe this version is also available in the West. Excuse the reflections in the photo. The pen was behind glass.

Not in the West

I assume the reason why you normally don’t see these special editions in the West has more to do with licensing than with demand, especially since they are not much more expensive than the normal versions of these pens, so they should sell well anywhere – but that’s just a guess.

As I know most of the readers of my blog I might as well write this publicly: If you want one of these pens let me know and I’ll try to get one for you.

 


Prices and exchange rates: June 2017

If you want to know more about Shanghai’s Lamy stores have a look at this blog post about the store in Raffles City, the stores in this comment or  the one in this blog post.

  1. Fun fact: many years ago Jing An was the only place in Shanghai with a Burger King, but now Burger King is ubiquitous. []
  2. Lamy spells joy lower-case so I’ll stick to that in this this blog post []
  3. You can see one in this Bleistift blog post from 2011. []
  4. This number sounds good in Chinese, a bit like ‘will be fortunate, for sure’. []
  5. Exactly 10% in the case of the Star Wars joy. []