Pedlars


Pedlar’s Signet 100 HB 2

 

signet-boxThe Kimberly and Pedlars

Earlier this year, it was in February, Pedlars contacted me asking for some suggestions what pencils to add to their current offering. I believe Palimpsest suggested that they should contact me – and to be quite honest, I was quite excited to have a chance to make a (small) difference in the world of pencils. In my first email back I mentioned, among other pencils, the Kimberly – a pencil I really like, not only because of its metal cap and the fact that it’s made in the USA. Luckily Sean was kind enough to send me a pack a few years ago. Off topic: To my surprise the General Pencil Co seems to label their products, among other languages, in German, even though I’ve never seen their products in Germany – but it shows that exporting this pencil is an option they had in mind.

signet-box2

Much later did I found out by coincidence that Pedlars seemed to have liked my suggestion and started to actually add the Kimberly to their line of pencils. I’m very glad they did!

signet-front

Pedlar’s own pencil, the Signet 100

End of November I heard from Pedlars again. This time they sent me a new pencil they’re selling, their own model, called the Signet 100. According to the description in the box the pencil is made using American basswood/linden1 and is made in the Czech Republic. The box it comes in, a very nice box with an old fashioned surface that implies quality is made in Cheshire.

signet-end

Where is it made?

I only know of two pencil factories in the Czech Republic. The Stabilo-Schwan factory is Český Krumlov and the Koh-I-Noor L. & C. Hardtmuth factory in Budweis. To be honest, my guess would have been that the Signet pencils are made by Koh-I-Noor L. & C. Hardtmuth, but according to the Signet box they are “made in the Czeck Republic by a long-established, family run company”, which means we can probably rule out Koh-I-Noor as the manufacturer.

Koh-I-Noor’s official name is Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth a.s. and the company is a member of the Koh-I-Noor holding a.s. Group – and a.s. means that a company is a joint stock company, which makes an a.s. company not impossible, but less likely to be a family-run company. Stabilo Schwan is a limited company, so more likely to be seen as a family-run company, but there might very well be other pencil manufacturers in the Czech Republic. If you know of any, please let me know.

signet-overview

The pencil

The first impression I had when looking at the Signet was that it looks quite similar to the Palomino, which was also sold by Pedlars, so whoever might have designed the pencil might have gotten some inspiration (maybe subconscious, or maybe this is a coincidence), by Pedlar’s current range.

A Signet and a Palomino

A Signet and a Palomino

Comparing this pencil in my mind to the recently discussed Koh-I-Noor, despite it being unlikely it’s from the same factory (‘family-run company’), I expected it to be a light writer, but it isn’t. There are smoother pencils out there, including many cheaper pencils (for example the really good and great value John Lewis pencils, the more I use them, the more I like them, but performance is good. Point retention is good, too, i.e. the point doesn’t wear down too fast. The pencil also doesn’t smudge and is easy to eraser.

Two Czech pencils

Two Czech pencils

The main issue with this pencil is probably the price, £24.95 (~$39; €31.50) for ten pencils. You do get a nice cardboard box with these pencils, but the price makes you compare this pencil to other high end pencils …where it can’t really compete and it therefore looks like a niche / hipster product.

Point retention

Point retention

 


Price and exchange rates: December 2014

You can find Palimpsest’s review of the Signet on her blog.

I would like to thank Ms Karie from Pedlar’s for the Signet pencils, which I have received for free.

  1. Lexikaliker thought the Czech made Stabilo EasyGraph might possibly also be made using linden wood. []

Lots of links..

Today: a collection of links. Most of them have already been posted on the Bleistift Facebook page, but since most blog readers don’t look at the Facebook page I’ll repost them here.


Nautical Stationery Set 2

Today: a blog post with images all over the place.

This weekend’s 56th annual Eurovision Song Contest is over. With an estimated 125 Million viewers watching it is a big event, but even though it is quite big in Europe not many people outside Europe1 would probably know about it2. Nevertheless, the contest even seems to inspire politicians: a few years ago Putin proposed a similar Asiavision Song Contest.

While watching the final this weekend I was kind of expecting that Jimmy Jump would invade the stage again – like during last year’s Eurovision final and during the Football world cup final – but there was no sight of him…

Moldova’s entry was funny-ish, but I thought it was nowhere near as good as the (kind of) similar entry  from the Ukraine in 2007. It also somehow reminded me of a Knorkator song that made it into the German national finals in 2000. …and a last comment before I stop writing about Eurovision: what a shame that Switzerland did not get more votes. I thought their song was really nice (even though the singer should not have moved her arm so much).

Düller notepads

John Lewis Door Stop

Other things I did this weekend, except watching the Eurovision Song Contest,  included going to Manchester’s Trafford Centre. In John Lewis I saw a pencil shaped door stop for £25 (~$40; ~€29), but even more interesting than this was Pedlars in Selfridges. They sold Düller memo pads, including the long version featured in pencil talk’s recent Düller Memo Pad post …but unfortunately, they did not have the dotted version in stock. When I was in Pedlars a few weeks ago they still sold the Düller mechanical pencil that comes “in” a note pad, but this time only the sample was left (which is probably not for sale and was slightly damaged).

Oops - Upside down

Ships!

I bought a nautical stationery set by SORT, The Society Of Revisionist Typographers, despite the name obviously a company, not a society. When I bought it I didn’t know yet, but a quick search on the Internet revealed that this set was featured in a UK newspaper’s 2009 Christmas gift guide. I am not so keen on the nautical theme, but the paper and printing were nice enough to convince me to buy this stationery set.

Something else I discovered this weekend, this time in Homesense in Preston: nice leather bound notebooks from Gallery Leather, printed in Korea (so I assume the paper is Korean, too) and bound in Maine, USA. All the journals I looked were very well made and at around £8 (~$13; ~€9) they were also very reasonably priced. I assume you can also find them at T.K. Maxx / T. J. Maxx, since they belong to the same company.

 

  1. …or better: outside the “European Broadcasting Area”, which includes many non-European countries, that participate in the contest []
  2. Australia might be an exception. Not only is it shown there, viewers can even vote, even though their vote does not count. []

More East Asian stationery 4

A few weeks ago I wrote about the Eco Bridge Paper Pencils. I want to mention a few other things that are being sold in the same shop sell. The items are not exactly cheap, so it is unlikely that I will buy them. This means I cannot write a proper review, but it would be a shame to leave these items unmentioned, as they are unusual and, for lack of a better word, interesting.

If I had to describe the shop I would say it is a shop full of random quirky things aimed at arty, Apple using yuppies. Things are not cheap, but it will be difficult to find them somewhere else. It is a kind of hip and cool version of Manufactum.

Continuing from the Eco Bridge Paper Pencils, along the Korean stationery theme, they also sell Korean ‘notebooks’ (actually what I would call exercise books). They look nice and are labelled in French. Unfortunately importing them from Korea made them cost five to ten times the price of a similar (plain looking) notebook from Europe. If you want a really nice, thin notebook this might be it.

Another product imported from East Asia is a set of 36 squary, coloured pencils from Japan. It retails for £60 and is part of the Düller range. The Düller range also includes a pen designed by Dietrich Lubs, who is featured in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The coloured pencil set is designed by Naori Miyazaki. Unfortunately I was not able to find out more about her1, except that she is not featured in the Museum of Modern Art. The MoMA online shop does however sell a clock designed by her. Back to the pencil set. There is some rather strange text in German written on this pencil box about combining German taste and Japanese handiness, which looks instantly East Asian because of the character spacing. In different online stores in the UK and Australia the price of this pencil set can vary dramatically. I thought I saw it in an American online store for $96, but I was not able to find it any more to confirm this price.

Also for sale are fairly big animal shaped erasers and Penguin pencils.

You can find more information about the Penguin pencils at penciltalk.

The Lamy 2000 and other products by its designer can also be found in the Museum of Modern Art.

  1. I assume it is a female name []