Staedtler


Boring dysfunction

Dysfunction

Staedtler’s Noris is near-daily occurrence on UK TV. Thanks to its ubiquitousness in schools it is sure to make an appearance in stock footage about primary schools. There is however a new place where you can admire the Noris on UK TV: during the day and in the evenings: in TV advertising for an erectile dysfunction blood test. Yes, I was also surprised they show this during the day. You can see a Noris triplus in two shots. First the lead is intact, then the lead is broken off. How subtle.

Image © Numan

You can watch the whole advertising below. I’m surprised that at the time of posting this blog post it only has 100 views. Maybe the company behind it is rather small.

Boring

Image © BBC

On to the next topic: A buyer from one of my eBay auctions mentioned the Pencil episode of The Boring Podcast to me. I listened to this Podcast (or the radio show version) when it was new and I enjoyed it, but somehow stopped listening, even though it still is still in my podcast app. That was a mistake. This show originally caught my eye because the presenter is James Ward, the author of the Adventures in Stationery book. By the way, I never got a reply to my question what his favourite pencil is, but I might try again in another six years. The pencil episode‘s main contributor is Brian Mackenwells. He’s talking about many pencils, including the Tombow Mono 100, the real Blacking and the CalCedar Blackwing, the Noris, the Columbus and many more. Have a listen – and also have a look at Brian Mackenwells’ cool typewriter products!


More about the upcoming Noris 511 120 sharpener 1

The new sharpener on the block

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 users1 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 5 (top) vs Dex (bottom) the photo doesn’t help in understanding the differences

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.

Testing

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.

Image © Staedtler

PS: You have to watch that video!

  1. no wonder Staedtler won an award for non-discriminatory corporate culture []

Happy Birthday Noris 5

It’s 2021 and the Staedtler Noris, Staedtler’s pencil with the article number 120, is 120 years old this year.

One of the new anniversary sets from Staedtler’s web site, released for this occasion, looks extremely desirable: it contains a new sharpener that will be available soon. The article number will be 511 120, a nice nod to the Noris’ number.

Image © Staedtler

Staedtler’s keeps trying to allow your pencil case to stay mess-free: Similar to the 512 60C from 2017, the new sharpener can be closed to prevent graphite and wood shavings from falling out.

Are you sitting comfortably? Good: the 511 120 will display when the pencil is sufficiently sharpened and will have a ratchet function to make it suitable for left-handed users. I am not left-handed but like how Staedtler cares for all users – like they did when they introduced the 562 300 PB ruler. The sharpener will be suitable for pencils with a diameter of up to 8.2 mm. I can’t wait for the 511 120 to hit the shelves in the UK …finally some good news in these sad times.

On a more sombre note: if you are from the UK you might find the following article about Paperchase going into administration interesting.


Thanks to Ms Förster from Staedtler for providing additional information about the 511 120.


Julia Donaldson’s Staedtler Tradition

Julia Donaldson (Image © The Documentary Unit Scotland / BBC Studios)

This is a quick follow up linked to the previous blog post about Sara Ogilvie’s Staedtler Tradition.

Julia Donaldson wrote the text for the previously mentioned book ‘The Detective Dog’ and is world-famous for her Gruffalo book(s). It’s great to know that she is also partial to good pencils …and like Sara Ogilvie she is also using Staedtler’s Tradition.

Julia Donaldson writing with a Staedtler Tradition (Image © The Documentary Unit Scotland / BBC Studios)

The screenshots of Julia Donaldson using a Staedtler Tradition have been taken from the documentary ‘The Magical World of Julia Donaldson’. I believe that the use of these images falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.


Sara Ogilvie’s Staedtler Tradition

My son has accumulated quite a few picture books over the years. They are mainly used as good night stories. When it comes to the beauty of the drawings there is one firm favourite for me: The Detective Dog.

(Image © Macmillan Children’s Books)

In the past I tried to find out more about the artist behind this book’s drawings, but wasn’t very successful – so you can imagine my surprise when not only was she being mentioned on TV, you could even see her using a Staedtler Tradition for her drawings.

Sara Ogilvie drawing with a Staedtler Tradition (Image © The Documentary Unit Scotland / BBC Studios)

She’s certainly not the first British artist using the Staedtler Tradition that is being mentioned in this blog and I am quite sure she won’t be the last.

Sara Ogilvie sharpening her Staedtler Tradition (Image © The Documentary Unit Scotland / BBC Studios)

Some of the drawings characteristics made me think the book’s drawings were produced on a computer, so seeing they were made with pencil and paper ..and a with Staedtler made this Staedtler fanboy very happy.


The screenshots of Sara Ogilvie using a Staedtler Tradition have been taken from the documentary ‘The Magical World of Julia Donaldson’. I believe that the use of these images falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.