Well this review might actually be back-to-front. As a pencil person I should probably have reviewed the Nippy No. 3 pencil before reviewing the No. 15 fountain pen that it was usually sold with, as part of a pen-pencil set. So for a little background on these pencils and pens you can see my earlier postings
"The Dark Side" and "Beauty 2"
But, moving right along, I took out a couple of Nippy No. 3’s to use as my pencil of the week and to review. Firstly No. 3 is a rather small and dainty mechanical pencil, actually a bit too short for my personal preference. Counteracting that though, it is a very well balanced pencil. The balance point is quite high up so being top heavy suits the way it sort of fits in your hand with nothing much sticking out past your hand. I also like the long tapering tip section, they always somehow feel good in my hand.
I’ve ended up with a few Conway Stewart Nippy No. 3’s, all green or blue marble with black veins. As I’ve said before, they look really great. Deep lustrous colours that come from way down inside the plastic. Beautiful gold plated metal trims. Fantastic! Most of my co-workers don’t really know about my “pencil-habit”, but the Nippy produced a few comments, “Wow, that’s a fancy looking little pen”(sic). The lights at my work really seemed to accentuate the marbling effect, I just wish my photos could do them justice.
Like many old pencils of 1960’s vintage, the Nippy uses 1.18mm lead, and has a twist/screw mechanism. You wind the little black top cap around to advance or retract the lead. The term from back then was a propel-repel-expel mechanism. The mechanisms aren’t without their problems. It appears that some of these old mechanisms can be a little worn and the lead can slowly retract back into the tip under writing pressure. This can be a pain if your pencil is prone to doing this. In the perfect world, there would also be a choice of lead diameters too.
Again like many other vintage pencils, spare leads are stored inside the pencil body. The leads are only short lengths. Inserting a new lead is via the tip, all a bit complicated compared to todays “keep on clicking” easy refill magazine mechanisms. There is no eraser.
The pocket clip is solid metal, not spring loaded, with heavy gold plating. It’s strong, almost too strong. When you wind the lead back inside the tip the pencil becomes semi-pocket safe as the tip isn’t all that thin or sharp. Being a fairly short and thin pencil it could suit being carried in a pocket, purse, notebook compendium, etc.
- Best Points – the looks, and small size if you are after a small pencil.
- Not So Good Points – no choice of lead size, no eraser.
- Price Range – Low to medium for a reasonable condition used pencil.
Dimensions – Length 114mm, diameter 9mm. Balance point about 70mm up from the tip.