Writing implement collection
For years, I have picked up discarded old pencils, pens and other stationery things. I would love to have some of the ones I had from my childhood, like old National Football League (NFL) pencils with the team name and the old colourful but underachieving Scripto twist pencils. One I miss the most was an unmarked, black, very short mechanical pencil with a hexagonal twist mechanism in the middle of the length of the pencil that advanced the lead. Those are lost to me now, but here are a few that I have collected.
I purchased these two today, a Columbia Carpenter pencil in green, with hard lead. Makes me wonder if it comes in soft and medium too (see the unusual Columbia mechanical pencils below); also a green Uni-ball Eye pen. I like to use colours other than red for marking and my choice is green.
I’m a fan of Pentel, and this is a blue Stein 0.5 in blue I bought a few days ago.
I was happy to get the Darth Vader Bic pen not long ago, but I just had to go back and get the other two I saw; the blue R2D2 and the silver Stormtrooper. Classic stuff. If only they were metallic mechanical pencils. Now that would be cool.
Two old wood-cased pencils, two new mechanical pencils. A stub that’d look good with a pencil extender, an oversized Education Colours HB pencil, a blue Papermate ComfortMate Ultra 0.7mm and a Bic Atlantis 0.7mm in translucent purple.
Continuing on with the Star Wars theme, I wanted to show you a really cool Star Wars pencil from my youngest child’s collection. It’s unsharpened, has a white rubber and features Vader, a Star Destroyer, a stormtrooper, a rebel, a rebel fighter and Princess Leia. A very nice start to a collection, hey? I just had to show off their new Lego exploration truck which has a mobile laboratory in the back. The set also comes with a crocodile hiding behind a waterfall, a kayak and a couple of explorers.
A bit of whimsy here. My son reckoned a while back that he’d outgrown this cool Darth Vader figure, so I keep him in my writing studio for company. He’s also good at keeping me on schedule with my writing, and even has found me a special edition, Disney Star Wars Darth Vader Bic 4-colour pen (medium nib) as a new way to motivate me.
I recently bought a pack of inexpensive, but attractive Bic Velocity 0.7mm mechanical pencils, with extra supplies. My girl asked me why I would collect something that doesn’t cost much, and I explained that it doesn’t set me back financially, they’re small and I can usually buy one if I see one I like. Of course, I always keep an eye out for ones that are a bit dearer, but haven’t had a chance to get any lately.
Today, I bought a box of a dozen of each of these 2B and HB pencils that come with a rubber but are unbranded. The brown and black stripes on the 2B really caught my eye. One can’t have too many pencils, can one?
Sometimes, I see interesting pencils that aren’t mine, and here’s one. It belongs to one of my son’s friends. I snapped this pic of it while they were taking a break from D&D. How many strange little pencils did I have in my hands throughout my childhood that I’d love to see again.
I’m a big fan of small businesses. And I think, the smaller and more ‘mum & dad’ the better. Obscure, junky little spaces with products laid out according to the owner’s own sense of what should go where stir my imagination. I always try to think of things I could buy from them before supporting the evil, corporate conglomerates (j/k) and today I found myself behind the end of the counter, half-invited, of a tiny deli whose outside promotion consisted of little more than a sign that said, ‘DELI’ above the open entry door. The Asian proprietor always says hello from a hidden nook upon my entry, and I always greet him in return. There’s something evocative for me about these places, the possibility of finding forgotten or yet-to-be-discovered products that can be made one’s own. Today, my find was a tartan red pencil case and a couple of Marbig HBs made in China.
Here’s something special; my dad’s old pencil tin from his workshop and now in mine. I can remember in my boyhood seeing long-point sharpened pencils at the ready poking out of it. It’s probably not the best, as only the longest pencils fit it, but I really like the vintage Maxwell House tin (‘Good to the last drop’) and it’s obviously a collectible (see https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/601543816/vintage-1970s-electra-perk-maxwell-house?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=electra%20perk&ref=sr_gallery-1-1). Slim pickings lately, with my only find an interesting little stub next to one of my favourite pens to write with, a brown Artline 200 in 0.4mm Fine.
I dug a few odds ‘n ends out from my art stuff pencil case, which I put together back when I did my Ed. degree. A grey-green high-quality crayon I accidentally took home from Art class at uni, a sketching leaseholder I bought from the MET in NYC, a thick black, unbranded colour pencil, a Staedtler, a pine green one (unsure what brand it is) and lastly, a Faber-Castell H sketching pencil.
My latest additions: a bog-standard Marbig 0.5mm without its clicker cap, a plasticky Columbia Mechanic 0.5mm in need of a rubber, an unbranded yellow pencil, a Staedtler unpainted HB 2, an even more natural wood pencil and lastly, a Mongol 482 #3 stub.
In honour of National Pencil Day yesterday, here’s one that’s a pencil collector’s dream. The top photo is very close to my recollection of this mean old man’s shed-hoard (think bigger and more, and in a shed), where a friend of mine brought me about 30 years ago, because remarkably, the old man was selling anything in it that we wanted to buy, or what we broke while digging around. He certainly wasn’t nice about it, but I was thrilled to find the main thing I was looking for, a battered, note-filled D&D adventure module I hadn’t heard of. By the way, old Ancred from my book Rylomos is based on this fellow.
But in the shed-hoard, I also found a plastic box piled with drafting stuff and think he sold it to me for $10 USD. It couldn’t have been much, as I was young and poor. The above pic is the box as it looks now, with some things shifted elsewhere, including:
Three of my most favourite mechanical pencils. Well, one Hardtmuth mechanical pencil and two Microtomic leadholders. I like the Hardtmuth pencil extender, but prefer to use modern ones that work better. The last item, a chalk holder, is not from the old man’s hoard, but rather my dad’s collection and I remember him using it for welding when I was a lad. The pencil and leadholders are old, heavy and well-made. I looked them up once and think they’re all from the 1950s.
Some old American pencils from Dads collection; an unsharpened Reliable No. 2, a Virco pencil (his old workplace), a Papermate Classic HB 2, a nice blue Union National Bank, a new Goldfaber 2H, a British Royal Air Force Red Arrows pencil, a Staedtler Pacific 830 HB, and a couple of old Berols- an Arcadia 2 1/2 and an Ensign 200 with a grade that can no longer be read.
One of my recent Christmas pressies; a German Kaweco pocket fountain pen, created in collaboration with Milligram and presented in sage. After watching a review, I chose the fine nib and ordered half a dozen cartridges in luxurious brown. To finish off, I just had to add a La Petite Papeterie Francaise pencil to my collection. C’est jolie!
Two Texta Classics, HB and 2B.
Two Goldfabers, B and 6B, as well as a Paper Mate Exam Standard 2101 HB.
A couple of new pencils I picked up today while shopping for school supplies for the kids; an oversized, triangular Lyra Groove and a nice-looking blue Staedtler HB.
Here’s my latest haul; three old British propelling pencils, from the top is an Arrowswift, an unnamed one and a Conway Stewart. I like the feel of them and they all seem to work well. Now for the wood cased pencils; an unnamed blue small pencil, a Staedtler 5B and a Milan HB.
A Goldfaber 4B drawing pencil and a Faber-Castell HB stub.
Picked up this green Shalaku, to complete my collection. I have black, orange, pink and now green. I’ll have to look for more colours, especially blue.
Some ‘bought new’ ones in my collection: (most of) a set of Katie Leamon luxury pencils made in England, a marbly Blackwing, a Staedtler Triplus HB made in Indonesia and an attractive American drawing pencil, a General’s charcoal 557-HB hard.
Here’s an interesting little collection: a Caran D’Ache pencil stub (probably the rarest I’ve picked up from the ground), a white colour pencil Giotto Acquarell, a Staedtler Tradition HB with rubber, an attractive Faber-Castell Eleganz 2B with dark rubber, a multiplication tables pencil, a Faber-Castell 1900 HB with grip and rubber, a battered Faber-Castell 2B and a recycled paper pencil.
A new Staedtler Tradition 763 triangular 0.5mm mechanical pencil my wife found for me today.
Here’s another of my dad’s old pencils, which I like partly because of its oversized ferrule. It’s an Eagle Signet 89 No. 2 and features one of the many clips my dad owned.
I found this pink Elephant 132 HB today. These Elephants have a great weight and feel in the hand and am now wondering what other colours they come in.
One cool thing about cities is that sometimes you can find an obscure little shop with vintage goods. This one was clearancing out the remnants of a closed-down newsagent. Aside from from some stylish old wrapping paper and a well-used checkers set, I found these gems; a box of 4H Goldfaber drawing pencils and a forgotten pocket notebook.
I picked up another Shalaku mechanical pencil. And I had to get it because I had thought I’d already bought an orange/pink one but I think it is more red/orange now, as the new one is definitely pink/red with a white clip.
An Orenz mechanical pencil with its anti-breaking system. I’d like to get a 0.5mm as well and some to open.
My little girl just returned from Sydney and brought me a couple of treasures – an old pen found in a park and a ‘giraffe’ one from Taronga Zoo. It’s furry!
My old friend, Droid, saw the pic of the mechanical pencil I used during school, and corrected me. It was a Pentel P225, not a P205 he said, as all of our group except one had one (Wayne had a P207). I wanted to be sure, so dug out all the ones in my collection. Even though the writing is worn off the one I used, you can see from the pencil shape that Droid is spot on. It’s identical to the still-in-its-package one from Dad’s collection, and different to the P205 I bought later. You can click on the picture for a larger view. Love the designation of it being for professionals or amateurs on the original P225 package. I was and still am – a pro. 🙂
Five cool pens: a double-ended Maped 4-colour, a Lamy Safari, a Bobino slim pen good for notebooks, an old fountain pen and one my father-in-law found for me; a 1950s Italian Universal fountain pen.
This group includes some sentimental ones for me: a new Palamino gold 530, one of Dad’s Hospital pencils by Ruwe Pencil Company and sharpened to a long point with his old sharpener, a colourful ‘Kiss Me’ Petit Jean Technical College pencil also from my dad’s collection, also my friend Droid’s dad’s employer (he was one of the funniest, best men I’ve ever known), probably the oldest one in my collection; a ‘penny pencil’ by Wallace Pencil Company and finally, my dad’s favourite pencil, a Blackriter. This last one looks pretty ordinary, but let me tell you, it must be as rare as hen’s teeth. One year I tried and tried to find a pack (or any) of them to give as a pressie to Dad, but couldn’t even find a listing for it. After Dad passed away, I found this one in his collection.
Some mechanical pencils: Two Shalaku pencils (I usually go for a black one, but liked the red/pink one too, must get the other colours available), a Pilot Super Grip and a cheap but attractive Bic 0.9 (I have a set of these with all four designs).
A Great Wall Chinese pencil, an old Faber Castell Venus No. 2 and an old King Cole No. 77 by Mallard Pencil Co. The latter two are from Dad’s collection.
Ones I’ve picked up that I like: a bright orange emergency pencil, an old students’ pencil paint-scraped and sharpened on both ends, a thin one painted rich dark blue, a cheap yellow one, a heavy nice Staedtler Elephant HB, a Staedtler Noris HB 2, a Derwent drawing pencil (most ones like this are coloured pencils but this one’s graphite), an un-named round yellow one, and a student’s Faber Castell Junior Grip with a centimetre ruler on the side.
Three packs of mechanical pencils I bought. The Columbia 1.8mm 2B Exam pencils were especially odd I thought. I’ve been looking for other grades too.
I think stubbies still have some life left in them, especially if you have a pencil extender, which is great for getting maximum use out of a favourite pencil. The red one above is a modern Faber Castell, but the Choice no. 2 is an old American one from my dad’s collection and I remember using many of them. The bottom one is a mystery, it’s another one from my dad, but has an odd grade: 2 4/8 and has 12⊄ on it. Given its obvious age, that seems a lot for a wood-cased pencil but it also says it is a ‘DELUXE’. I’ll try to find out more about it.
This little black mechanical pencil I’ve had since Year 8 or so and has long been a favourite. I’m impressed with its quality but Pentel has a good reputation. The crayon would’ve seen use use at my dad’s one-time employer, International Shoe Company and was no doubt thrown out then fished out of the bin by my frugal father.
The originals are legendary, with the boast on the back, ‘Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed’. The Palomino ones above very much like the original and we love them, but like the originals, they go down quick because of their softness.