pencil extender

Graphene, entrepreneurs and bad weather 2

Today: three different and unrelated topics in one blog post:


First: a link that has to do with graphene (this is not the first graphene related blog post). The last episode of In Business, the Radio 4 programme that previously looked at Staedtler and Faber-Castell, had a closer look at graphene and what it means for Manchester.

As far as I know Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov used lumps of graphite, but I think I heard that in the beginning they used a pencil to ‘isolate’ graphene. I might have heard that on the Andre Geim Desert Island Discs episode, but it might have been somewhere else.

I like to imagine that it was a Noris or Tradition, just because they are so ubiquitous in the UK, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was another pencil. Imagine having worked in Staedtler’s Welsh factory in Pontyclun on the day the pencil that made this all happen rolled off the conveyor belt1.


I received an email telling me about a new notebook for entrepreneurs. I don’t think I understood the entrepreneur angle, but according to the photos this is a very elegant looking notebook. It’s another crowdfunded stationery project.

Bad Weather

To make good use of the great weather yesterday we went to have a walk. Influenced by Sean’s blog post about the Graf von Faber-Castell pencil extender I got mine out and decided to use it again. I bought it more than five years ago. It was very cheap for a GvFC item, probably because it has lots of scratches. Here’s a picture I took during the walk.


Within a few minutes the temperature suddenly dropped by more than 5°C. Luckily we (just) made it back to the car before the rain started.

Anyone has any idea how I can remove the scratches from the pencil extender, preferably without removing the silver plating?

  1. I guess it would be a bit like having assembled the NeXT computer that became the first web machine. []

e+m Motus pencil lengthener 7

What to do if your pencil gets too short to use comfortably?

I guess most people lose their pencils before this ever happens, but surely that won’t happen to pencileers, molyvophiles1 and molyvologues2. If my pencils reach the end of their useful length I’ll, more often than I should, put them aside – to be kept for an undetermined purpose in an undetermined future …but I could of course also put them to good use in a pencil extender. My poshest pencil extender, not counting the Perfect Pencil as it is also a sharpener,  is the Motus pencil lengthener olive from e+m, Art.Nr. GS24-53. It comes in a black pencil box with two “pencils XS”, that are surprisingly smooth(!)3 writers.


With about 15g (~0.5 oz) the pencil extender is fairly heavy. The handle is made of olive wood with, in my opinion, beautiful grain. The collar that holds the pencil in place is a metal screw-style collar. The space to hold the pencil extends into the handle so that my version of the Motus can hold 9.5 cm of pencil length in the pencil extender itself4, which means that even if your pencil hasn’t reached the stub stage of its life yet you can still use the Motus, maybe as a handle if that’s more comfortable for you than just holding a thin pencil.

Holding it

The Motus has similar proportions to other pencil extenders with wooden handles, but the handle gets wider towards the end. It is comfortable to hold near the pencil end of the metal collar or near the collar end of the wooden handle. Holding it in between is not comfortable as the end of the handle is too wide. This might be a problem if you don’t like to hold you pens close or far from the writing end.

It’s a busy road so I wasn’t able to take a photo without a car parked in front of the shop

Papier Pfeiffer

I bought the pen in April 2011 from Papier Pfeiffer in Würzburg, Bavaria, for €16,95 (~$22.05; £14.60). This shop has a fantastic choice of pencils, pens and stationery and I got great and friendly advice from the senior boss, Mrs Bienek-Pfeiffer, who had run the shop since the 1960s5 until she handed it over to her daughter. In all fairness I also have to add that I got less useful and less friendly advice when she wasn’t there and a member of staff was dealing with me. As mentioned before their selection is great, but there is also lots of stock, there are unusual items you won’t usually find, they even have their own, special products, e.g. special Papier Pfeiffer inks from De Atramentis6, and they also sell more expensive brands.

The e+m articles are in the fourth shelf under the Lamy logo. Click to enlarge.


A great pencil extender. If you ware willing to spend that kind of money on an extender you’ll get one that is really good looking. This model is also available in black oak. …and if you’re ever in Würzburg it might be worth having a look at Papier Pfeiffer at Sanderstraße 4a.


Price: April 2011

Exchange rates: March 2013

You can find a review of another e+m pencil extender at Lexikaliker (in German).

You can find a blog post about Papier Pfeiffer at re:duziert (in German).

Added after Michael’s comment: Cult Pens now stock a range of these extenders.

  1. Someone passionate about pencils []
  2. A student of pencils []
  3. really! smooth! []
  4. I assume similar e+m extenders can accommodate pencils of a similar length, but I wasn’t able to confirm this. []
  5. The shop was established in 1912. []
  6. I suspect these might not be special colours, but existing colour given special names for Papier Pfeiffer by De Atramentis []