Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Few Leads

Just recently I have been trying to expand my rather neglected stash of lead refills. There is actually quite a huge variety of leads available, in various little tubes and containers, on header cards, and so forth. Some are rather utilitarian in their looks, others are a bit more artistic. Here a few quick pictures of some of my leads.

First up, some glorious AIN premium leads from the mighty Pentel of Japan. Actually I think this is one my best “pencil photos” so far.

Asian Cartoon Leads

No nonsense from Switzerlands Caran d’Ache. They don’t even put their name on the lead container – just model and grade designations.

More no-nonsense Germanic stuff, this time two different containers from Faber-Castell.

Plastic injection moulds are very expensive things. Germany’s Staedtler obviously decided there was no need to make new moulds when they could update their look with a new label and a change from opaque blue to a more modern looking transparent plastic.

Parker have a rather nice unusual little round container for Duofold leads. But then also plastic containers like everyone else. Still sticking with the “sensible” grey and white colour scheme though. Note the two different labels on the same 0.5mm HB leads.

Cross prefer the headercarded style of leads to promote retail sales.

It's headercards too for Sensa, but you actually get Papermate leads when you buy Sensa. Or you could just buy the same Papermate leads with a Papermate headercard. Guess which is cheaper?

Then there is this Papermate container of unusual teardrop cross-section.

Maybe the “Conspiracy Theorists” really are right. Maybe there is only one big factory making all the worlds lead refills – they just put them into different containers and ship them out. Here’s Papermate and Schwan Stabilo - it's the exact same container, just a different coloured cap and printing.

Uni brand by Mitsubishi Pencil Co Ltd of Japan. Six different colours in the one container, and plain old ordinary graphite in the other. It is actually by chance, but that puts Japanese leads at the start and the finish of this posting, “the be-all and end-all”, probably appropriate given the state of their mechanical pencil and lead industry.


Anonymous said...

Dave - since you're a pencil dude, thought I'd ask: just got a Norma 4 color pencil from the 50's (I think) Takes 1.1mm lead (black, red, green, blue) Any advice for sources?


(not really sure about this 'blog' thing - I'm an old guy...)

Kiwi-d said...

I think the source of all Norma knowledge is Roger Russels Norma Pencil Page


He has leads for sale. Hope this helps.

EludedSunshine said...

Staedtler and Faber Castell make nice colored pencils. I used to have this tin with a bunch of CP's in it, but I don't know what happened to it...

jclaire2 said...

I have a Shaeffer mechanical pencil. I sent it to Shaeffer to repair it. They did and said it used 1.16mm lead. I can't find any. Can you help me? jclaire2

Kiwi-d said...

Hello jclaire2. Check out my posting "Lead Size & Grades" on the sidebar links under the "Lead Information" header. I am 99.9999% sure that what Shaeffer really mean is 1.18mm lead, also called 1.1, or 1.2mm or .046 inch leads. You will find this lead at some of the better online retail sites, and sometimes eBay too.