Exciting news: This weekend I’ll be going to the Insights-X Stationery EXPO in Nuremberg.
I first read about this trade fair in Lexikaliker’s blog. It’s from the same organiser who runs Nuremberg’s big toy and game trade fair and this year I was lucky enough to have been invited to attend, like several other bloggers.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that the big pencil manufacturer’s from in and around Nuremberg will be there, but strangely enough Faber-Castell isn’t listed in the pencil category of the trade fair’s directory. I am not sure whether this means that FC will focus on other products at Insights-X or whether this is just a mistake in the directory.
To my surprise some of the more exotic pencil manufacturers will also be there, for example the Hindustan Pencil company, but others, like Portugal’s Viarco are not present.
Sharpener wise, the only exciting company at Insights-X seems to be KUM.
I’m very much looking forward to visiting the trade fair. I’ve never been to a stationery trade fair or even a pen show before.
To celebrate 350 years of Bleiweißsteftmacherhandwerk the craft of making pencils – Bleiweißsteft is what the Bleistift (German for pencil) was called during the 17th century the Franconian and Bavarian regional news reported live from Staedtler’s factory on 25 September 2012. The reports were only a few minutes long.
Dr. Konstantin Czeschka, Chief Technology & Production Officer, and Axel Marx, Managing Director, talked about the history of the pencil and included these interesting details:
The graphite used for pencil leads is ground to particles whose size is in the range of a micrometer, one millionth of a metre.
In 1900 there where 23 companies manufacturing pencils in Nuremberg. They employed 10,000 employees.
One machine, shown on TV, can produce 1000 leads per minute.
The pencil leads are heated to 1000°C
The leads seem to be made in Nuremberg, but the pencils seem to be assembled in their factory in Neumarkt.
I thought Staedtler’s mechanical pencils are made there, but didn’t expect their pencils to be made there, too. I mentioned Neumarkt in a previous blog post when I wrote about the ONLINE All Wood Marone. ONLINE is based in Neumarkt, too, as is e+m Holzprodukte.
Producing a pencil is a fairly automated process. You only need about 1-2 seconds of human labour time. 100 years ago about one minute was needed, 200 years ago it was about an hour.
The price of graphite is expected to rise. One of the reasons is that it is needed for manufacturing batteries for electric cars.
The images in this blog post have been taken from Frankenschau and Abendschau. I believe that the use of the images shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.
End of July I visited Staedtler Welt, Staedtler’s shop in the centre of Nuremberg.
The weather on the day was great, around 35°C (~95°F), and I even passed Staedtler’s headquarters when I drove into Nuremberg. This was because my wife, I and two friends went to Herzogenaurach first, the city where Adidas and Puma are from, and when you drive from there to the centre of Nuremberg on the Bundesstraße (B road / national highway) you pass Staedtler’s headquarters, a nice surprise and something I didn’t know or expect.
Staedtler Welt opened in November 2010 and offers a great selection of Staedtler products – obviously the best I have seen so far in a shop, but I was slightly disappointed because there were many current Staedtler products I am aware of that I couldn’t find in this shop. To be honest I was expecting to see more products, but nevertheless, the products available include some items you don’t usually see in shops, like the Mars rasor and even products that are not made any more, like the Mars stenofix.
Most of the space in the shop is used to display stationery, but there is also an area in the back of the shop dedicated to FIMO and related products, like FIMO accessories. In this part of the shop you can even find ovens and an area that is probably being used for FIMO workshops.
The employees were extremely friendly. One of the employees is originally from the UK and started to talk to our British friends who went there with me and my wife. The prices in the shop were similar to what you would pay on the high street or in a typical department store.
Wopex and the trend line colours are also on display in the shop. These trend line colours, many are different shades of brown, were first released about a year ago. I thought that they were originally colours exclusive to the Wopex range, but I couldn’t find any evidence for this. In any case, you can now find non-Wopex products in trend line colours, too. When they were first released the trend line products were only available in the Staedtler Welt shop, but during my trip to Germany this July I saw trend line products in department stores, too.
I would like to thank Vernon Antcliff for letting me know his camera when we were in Staedtler Welt.