Monday, July 30, 2007

Staedtler CD

I really wonder why a lot of writing instrument manufacturers bother with a contact link on their websites. Most of them never bother to reply to any of my questions, and from comments that others have made to me, I’m far from alone in this experience. But there is one exception to that rule, namely Staedtler. Both German HQ and their Australian subsidiary have promptly replied to my enquiries. Staedtler Australia even airmailed me their CD “Facts about Pencils” in response to a simple enquiry, and the covering note was personally signed by the CEO, so they obviously take customer relations very seriously.
So, a few words about this CD. Firstly its about woodcase pencils rather than mechanical pencils. It looks to me like “Facts about Pencils” is aimed at children around the 8 to 10 year old age bracket. It opens with the question “Have you ever wondered where your pencil comes from?” accompanied by the raucous sounds of the Australian bush and a friendly cartoon kangaroo and koala bear. Then 5 short movies take you through the pencil manufacturing process,
  • Where Do Pencils Come From?
  • The ‘Unleaded Pencil’
  • Shaping the Pencil
  • Painting the Pencil
  • Labelling & Packaging the Pencil

These 5 short movies are obviously Australian productions. There is also a “Student Workbook – Teachers Aid” section, and two bonus movies which are obviously from Staedtler Germany. One movie is about erasers, the other pencils - who would have guessed how erasers were so important in teenage love?

It was good to watch the movies to see all the automated machinery producing pencils by the zillion - pencil leads and erasers just being continuously squeezed out and chopped to length. I was particularly interested to see the painting process and how they get the pin-striping and other effects. The German movie mentions that Staedtler’s two manufacturing plants in Germany produce 1.7 million pencils per day.

So, 10 out of 10 for Staedtler when it comes to customer service.

Note: I originally had this published over on Pencil Revolution. But since the revolution has gone underground, I thought I’d put it on my blog as well, “just in case”.


Anonymous said...

As a long-time user and big fan of Staedtler products (my oldest mechanical pencil, the Staedtler Microfix S 0.5 (773 05) from 1981, still works perfect) I might be biased but I can confirm Staedtler's first-class support - they even encouraged me to send in one single woodcase pencil for a replacement in case of problems.

jgodsey said...

thanks for this....i too found official sites less than helpful. But Staedtler actually has the recipe for their eraser in a downloadable PDF.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning the CD. I have just phoned Staedtler Germany and was told that there is no German version - it seems to be an Australia-only production.