Category Archives : Sorted By Manufacturer


A Franconian Noris

Franconia Day

This weekend is Franconia Day (Tag der Franken) again, so I thought this blog post should feature some Franconia pencils – in the wild.

Juge Robin's pencil

Juge Roban’s pencil (Image © Son et Lumière)

Engrenages

According to Wikipedia “only two European regions continue to be associated with the Franks”1:

  • Franconia – to link this blog post to Franconia: it’s where the pencils in the following pictures were probably made (unless they were old stock)
  • and Île-de-France where the pencils in the following pictures were being filmed.
Juge Roban's pencil

Juge Roban’s pencil (Image © Son et Lumière)

These screenshots have been taken from Engrenages, where they used to use the BIC Matic last season.

While the magistrate is using Staedtler’s Noris the police is using the Tradition:

Staedtler tradition

Staedtler tradition (view in full resolution to see the pencil) (Image © Son et Lumière)

The Game and Clifton

Meanwhile, on the other side of the channel. Actually, not meanwhile, but kind of 40 years earlier: MI5’s Alan Montag is using a Staedtler Noris. There are a lot of pencils in the series, but usually they are unidentifiable yellow/orange pencils. For a few minutes I thought Joe Lambe’s accent is Irish until I realised it’s one of the different types of Scouse2.

Alan Montag listening in with a Noris

Alan Montag listening in with a Noris (Image © BBC Cymru)

The previous screenshot is from the great TV series “The Game” – from 2014, but set in the 1970s. In contrast here’s an MI5 pencil from the real 1970s – from the story Atout…coeur! / Hartkloppingen! from Franco-Belgian comic series Clifton. Burton and Taylor seems to be a reference to Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, the design of the pencil seems to be based on the Staedtler Lumograph.

Clifton's pencil

Clifton’s pencil (Image © Turk & De Groot)

Make me Welsh

After the BBC’s Make me a German this time: Make me Welsh. Funnily enough the TV series The Game I just mentioned was produced by BBC Cymru Wales, too. Sean told me about this programme and sent me a screenshot showing pupils using Staedtler’s Noris (very common in British schools).

Pensiliau Cymraeg

Pensiliau Cymraeg (Image © BBC Cymru)

 

Episodes

If that’t not enough Franconian pencils yet – there are plenty more in the latest season of Episodes. Episodes does again feature an extremely high density of Noris pencils per episode. I’ll skip the screenshot though as it would be virtually indistinguishable from the last one I posted.

 

Noris in the wild

To celebrate what is probably my favourite pencil, the Noris, I have put together a page from the different Noris in the wild blog posts, which can be found here.

Franken Bleistift


I would like thank Sean for the Make me Welsh screenshot.

I believe that the use of the screen shots, taken from Engrenages, The Game, Clifton and Make me Welsh falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

  1. I’m not sure whether this claim is true, but nevertheless I’ll just repeat it here []
  2. I should have recognised it earlier …a few years ago I had a student with a very similar accent []

I lost my Perfect Pencil 6

It looks as if I lost my Perfect Pencil. My trusted companion since February 2009. With me nearly every single day since I bought it. I guess there is a small chance I will find it again, but that seems unlikely at this stage.

The Castell 9000 version is, in my opinion, by far the best version. I don’t like the look of any of the other Faber-Castell versions and the Graf von Faber-Castell versions are on the one hand a bit too ‘show off’ and they are also very heavy …which makes them feel unbalanced – plus I know from experience that if both of them fall from a meter or so on tarmac the Castell 9000 version will usually survive unharmed while the Graf von version will get a corner chipped off, because its weight made the fall so much worse.

 

Branches

The picture is from an old blog post about the Pencil Cedar – when I still had my Perfect Pencil.

 

The big question: should I buy a new one, the green one again? They got more expensive in the UK. I bought mine from Cult Pens where they now sell for 12% more (when taking VAT out of the equation). On the other hand the refills got nearly 50% cheaper!1 Even though a 12% price rise seems reasonable they are only half of the UK price when bought at Müller, a German drug store chain.

In the past I was tempted to get the black version. The black version looks as if it would look good with a Noris as a refill, but the only place where I have seen the black version for sale is in Japan, so it does get quite expensive – and currently I shouldn’t really spent money on expensive2 stationery.

I’m not sure yet whether I pay the more expensive UK price, wait for a one from Germany or pay the premium to get the black Japanese version.

  1. I used to use the long eraser-tipped 9000 in B to save on refills. Letter colour is different (gold vs silver) and the layout is different, but otherwise they seem identical except length. []
  2. >£10 []

KUM Masterpiece 3

Introduction

I have used KUM’s Automatic Long Point sharpener, a two step sharpener, for six years now, but I can’t say that I’ve ever been very happy with it. In the end it didn’t use it much at all – saying that: it is a good sharpener for Staedtler’s Wopex, though.

kum-masterpiece-1

After reading Lexikaliker’s blog post about the KUM Masterpiece, a very similar sharpener with a magnesium body, I couldn’t resist and had to try it. I’ll spare you most details about the sharpener as I’d never be able to write them up as well as Lexikaliker anyway.

The Masterpiece

The Masterpiece is quite expensive. I paid €9.25. Luckily Lexikaliker was kind enough to help me get my hands on one. No wonder it’s expensive: There is a lot of manual work involved and that doesn’t come cheap in Germany (but in this case it’s much cheaper that products from another German company involving a lot of manual work).

kum-masterpiece-2

It’s a two step sharpener, meaning that in the first step you only ‘sharpen’ the wood away. You then move to the second part of the sharpener where you sharpen the actual lead of the pencil.

The Masterpiece comes in a plastic container that is in a neoprene case.

Stop removed

Stop removed

Actually, the first time I used it I damaged the lid of the plastic container that sits inside the neoprene case – closing the snap fastener needs so much force that the case under it got a crack.

Conclusion

I can’t say that I get much better results with the masterpiece – compared to KUM’s Automatic Long Point sharpener, but it was slightly easier to achieve good results. Another benefit of this model: You can also slide the blue plastic stop off to expose the lead even further before sharpening in the second step. A last point to mention: The Masterpiece has an even more acute angle. Technically the angle for wood and graphite are different. In reality, assuming you used the built-in stop to expose just the right length of graphite, you get an angle of just over 15°. This is the most acute angle I know.

Step 1 completed

Step 1 completed – look at the beautiful shavings from my Noris. 

It’s a nice sharpener, top marks for beautiful shavings, and I’m sure it will see more use than it’s Long Point sibling, but I still prefer my Deli 0635.

Step 2 completed

Step 2 completed


Quiet 7

Sorry for the recent inactivity on my blog. I had a few days off over Easter and work as well as the baby (or should I say the toddler) have kept me very busy, too. There are a few half finished blog posts I hope to complete soon.

Work wise a new task / project will start soon. It will probably go on indefinitely, so I am just thinking which of my unused Atoma notebooks I should start using for that task.

I want to go with Atoma as I have often regretted using a Red’n’Black notebook for another project, which meant I couldn’t add sheets afterwards, or add printouts in a meaningful way.

Atoma notebooks

The A5 like size has been very useful in the past, but this time there might be benefits to be gained from being able to squeeze more information on a page – to give a better overview of things – but A4 seems a bit big and imposing for meetings etc. There are also the posh Atoma notebooks (including the Alain Berteau version) I got for my birthday in 2013, but I guess at work they would be a bit out of place…

Any advice?