Staedtler


Fake Lumographs 3

I get why there is a market for fake luxury pens, but creating fake versions of affordable pens seems rather ridiculous. In this case the pencil being copied costs less than £1. Yes, you could argue that £1 is much more than what you’d pay for a no name pencil …but if you think about how long a pencil lasts (when you use it the way it is supposed to be used [1]i.e. writing or drawing on paper, I mention this because if you use pencils e.g. to mark wood it won’t last very long, so a Lumograph might not be the best choice for that) then I have to say that the Lumograph is excellent value for money. You can enjoy writing with an excellent pencil for weeks or months for much less than what a coffee costs on the high street.

top: real, bottom: fake

Bleistift blog reader Koralatov made me aware that fake Lumographs are being sold on eBay and I couldn’t resist ordering a pack to have a closer look.

The fake Lumographs next to a ‘real product’ in a Staedtler Box

Differences

The box

The fake Lumographs come in a Staedtler Box. In Europe the Lumograph usually not being sold in this box, but, and this was new to me, Staedtler confirmed that in Asia you can actually buy the Lumograph in this box.

Some of the information on the box doesn’t make sense for a graphite pencil. The lead protection that is being mentioned on the box (the triangular red logo you can see on the photo above) is a technology that is being used for coloured pencils, not for graphite pencils, so certainly has no place on Lumograph packaging.

The floppy fake Staedtler box compared to a robust real Staedtler box

The pencils

The wood being used is very(!) different to the one being used for real Lumographs. It is very pale, we’re talking basswood pale or even more pale.

The hardness is only printed on one side of the end of the pencil instead of being printed on all sides. Some pencils don’t have the hardness printed at all and for most pencils the indentation around the hardness is very deep, as if they have been stamped too hard.

top: real, bottom: fake

The fake pencils are being sold as Chinese made factory seconds. Staedtler does produce the Lumograph in Asia, but it is made in Indonesia with German Leads. The real Indonesian Lumograph pencils are marked with “German Lead” instead of “Made in Germany” and use cheaper wood, like Jelutong. They are also sold in other Asian markets, as seen at this link.

top: fake, bottom: real – notice the different wood colour

Suffice to say that these fake Lumographs are very scratchy, even the soft degrees, and are not nice to use at all.

Since we’re talking about pencils: Here’s a bonus link for you: It’s a Dutch music album called Bleistift from 1981:
https://www.discogs.com/Bleistift-Bleistift/release/1914478 – I wonder how it sounds like. I assume it’ll sound quite different to the Pencil Revolution song.

References

References
1i.e. writing or drawing on paper, I mention this because if you use pencils e.g. to mark wood it won’t last very long, so a Lumograph might not be the best choice for that

Birthdays, retirements and the Noris 7

After teasing the new Noris sharpener 511 120 on two occasions [1]Happy Birthday Noris and More about the upcoming Noris 511 120 sharpener it’s time to show you the real thing here..

I was told that the 511 120 is already available in shops, but here in the UK we are just coming out of lockdown so I have not had a chance yet to see this sharpener in the wild [2]Mine was sent from Germany..

The 511 120 is a nice addition to the Noris line in the Noris anniversary year. You can see it in action in the video below.

By now the English-language anniversary web site has also had an overhaul and, like the German version, it now includes birthday greetings from Noris fans. So far that’s Brad (the Pen Addict), Stephen (the Pencil Talk Editor), famous Disney comic artist Massimo Fecchi, Shangching from East West Everywhere and me. I hope there will be even more in the future.

In Europe, you mainly associate the Noris name with the yellow and black hexagonal pencil, but the Noris didn’t start with that look and even though the yellow and black Noris, the 120, must be the most popular Noris it is by no means the only Noris product. There are also Noris pencils available in a triangular shape, as coloured pencils, sharpeners, erasers and in some markets, you get different colours than in others. Look for example at these nice Noris colours from Iran, the erasable red version (14450-2PP2) from Japan, the learner’s stylus 119 20 that comes with a free app.

Helmut Hufnagl

There are also some news in the Noris anniversary year that are good [3]for Helmut and bad [4]for stationery fans at the same time. Helmut Hufnagl, the designer of the 511 120 and many other exciting Staedtler products, is starting his well-deserved retirement at the end of this month. If you are interested in functional and affordable stationery have a look at this list of blog posts that mentions some of the products he designed.

References

References
1Happy Birthday Noris and More about the upcoming Noris 511 120 sharpener
2Mine was sent from Germany.
3for Helmut
4for stationery fans

Noris 120 2

To celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Noris Staedtler has created a special page for our [1]..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).

A typical ‘Noris spotted on the Beeb’ photo thrown in for good measure. (Image © BBC)

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 [2]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.

I feel very honoured that my best wishes for this anniversary are featured on the German version of the Staedtler website, next to Gunther’s.

Here featured in a report about how schools are affected during Covid times. Nothing says “UK school” quite like the Noris. (Image © BBC)

The anniversary details from this page are great, so I couldn’t resist and added some of them to the Noris page on Stationery.wiki.


The screenshots have been taken from BBC News. I believe that the use of these images falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

References

References
1..certainly my and maybe also your favourite pencil
2The 120th anniversary of the pencil with then umber 120.

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. 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. You always think that companies that pay for nation-wide TV advertising must be quite big, but maybe the company behind this is rather small or just doesn’t promote their videos online.

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 2

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 users [1]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 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!

References

References
1no wonder Staedtler won an award for non-discriminatory corporate culture