Another Noris in the Wild. This time from the cover of a single by indie-pop band Von Wegen Lisbeth. I got to know the band because of their song on the Crucchi Gang album and noticed that their latest single features what is unmistakably a Staedtler Noris.
I believe that the use of the cover of this single falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.
To celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Noris Staedtler has created a special page for our ..certainly my and maybe also your favourite pencil favourite pencil. You can find it in the ‘Highlights’ section of Staedtler’s website (it’s part of the the ‘Discover’ menu item).
I wish this important brand and pencil could have been in the limelight a bit longer – by Staedtler featuring the Noris anniversary article on their landing page for a few weeks – especially in countries like the UK where the Noris is very popular and people might appreciate this special anniversary The 120th anniversary of the pencil with then umber 120.. Addendum: I have been told that that the Noris anniversary pages will be expanded throughout the year.
The special Noris web page is a great read with lots of historic details plus some quirky titbits thrown in, like the record-breaking Noris color pencil that is more than 450 meters long or the giant Noris Obelisk in Barcelona. Unfortunately the translation into English seems to have been done by a computer, which resulted in the occasional information hiccup, but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment you get from all the details. Addendum: My understanding is that Staedtler will get the translation issues fixed.
When I saw the Noris 511 120 Sharpener, mentioned in the previous blog post, my first thought was that Helmut Hufnagl was probably involved in the development of this sharpener. Two reasons: like the 562 300 PB ruler it is suitable for left-handed users no wonder Staedtler won an award for non-discriminatory corporate culture and like the 512 60C sharpener the 511 120 tries to provide a mess-free experience, thanks to the cap. The similarity to the Sonic Ratchetta is another thing to notice. The 511 120 , like the Ratchetta, has a ratchet mechanism. This also means you can sharpen without having to ‘regrab’ the pencil and it makes the sharpener easier to use for left-handed users. In the West, the Sonic Ratchetta seems to be more commonly available than other sharpeners of a similar design. Similar sharpeners are being sold under other names (Bostitch, Paperpro and more), but as far as I can tell the original version was not the Sonic Ratchetta but was the SDI Buggy, first released in 2013. (You have to watch that video!)
The maestro did it again
I feel lucky and privileged to have been able to not only get answers to my questions about this sharpener but to even some additional information, directly from Mr Hufnagl. As suspected this sharpener is really his brainchild and even though it is being produced at one of the two factories were Sonic Ratchettas/SDI Buggies, etc, are being made, the Noris 511 120 is a different product, i.e. has different specs.
Super sharpener, Super 5
The whole ‘looks similar but is different’ situation reminds me a bit of the Super 5. The fantastic Super 5 fountain pen looks quite similar to Kingsley’s Dex and thanks to Scribble I found out that both of these, and also the Manuscript Master, use Helit bodies. These pens are however quite different in terms of ‘feel quality’ and even function: while the Dex feels cheap and plasticky the Super 5 is a great pen to use and has a very special nib. They are quite different even though both use Helit bodies. As mentioned previously, Helit is actually owned by Maped which brings us back to the topic of sharpeners: The 511 120 isn’t out yet, but I am looking forward to finding out how it will perform.
Mr Hufnagl asked different kinds of users to test the new sharpener. Doctors / GP practices and hairdressers were particularly impressed with this sharpener. Different employees were sharing pencils, e.g. to write down appointments, and ratchet mechanism made sharpening easy for left-handed users while the shape made the sharpener easy to clean (think Covid). Pupils from secondary schools also loved this sharpener.
I’m really looking forward to the 511 120. It certainly seems worthy of sporting the Noris’ colours and is a great addition to the Noris line in the Noris anniversary year.
It’s nice to know that British schools recognise a good pencil when they see one and that Staedtler’s Noris is, as far as I can tell, by far the most common pencil in British schools. If I could only have one pencil for the rest of my life it would be the Noris, without a shadow of a doubt.
In this school scene from the British TV series Catastrophe (Season 4 Episode 2) you can see ten Staedtler Noris in nine seconds
(It’s an animated gif, so you might depending on the browser you use you might have to click on it first.)
Since we’re on the topic of Staedtler anyway: have a look at this drawing tube (to transport drawings, etc.) in a Mars Lumograph look. Cool.
The school scene in this blog post has been added to the Noris in the Wild page and is from the Channel 4 series Catastrophe. I believe that the use of the animated GIF shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.