Friday, June 26, 2009

National Brands

I’m sure we are all familiar with the international brands of writing instruments and mechanical pencils – the Pilots, Pentels, Faber-Castells, and Papermates of the world. Not that long ago there must have been hundreds and hundreds of smaller national and regional brands around the world. Many of these are gone now, but some still survive. An example of this is Penol in Denmark, who ceased manufacturing themselves, but still continue as a national distributor of products under their own brand name. There must have been quite a few manufacturers and brands in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Surely some of them still survive as manufacturers or as importer-distributors of their own branded products?

Anyway, I would be most interested to hear of any regional / national type brands that are still going in your part of the world. Leave a comment and let us know about the little guys still battling it out against the mega-corps.

11 comments:

Henrik said...

I'll be the first then. We have no Danish manufacture of neither pencils nor mechanical pencils (as far as I know). But we have a few Danish brands manufactured in China: The Penol - which is known for making markers these days, but also has a mechanical pencil line (Dave reveiwed them a while ago). And then the Relief which claims to be Danish, but manufactured "abroad". Relief is mostly cheap copies of more expensive brands.
That's about it - outsourcing is a curious thing.
Henrik

wes said...

are there any kiwis manufacturing quality pens and pencils? Space pens are a small company and are privately owned. They make mostly pens that they claim that write at temperatures -30 degrees Fahrenheit to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. They however do make 1 multipen that sells for 35 us dollars. It is one of those gravity select multipens also. Space pen is based in nevada and makes the pens that nasa uses in space.

Anonymous said...

The thruth about the space pen:

http://history.nasa.gov/spacepen.html

I would like to see one of the mechanical pencils from Tycam NASA used in the early days of manned space flight.

-A.

kiwi-d said...

Wes – nope, no writing instrument manufacturers or brands down this way. Staedtler are the nearest, the last remaining manufacturer in Australia. Parker and Shaeffer shutdown there a long time ago. There are brands like Marbig and Artline down here, but they are brands of international stationery houses like ACCO.

Hmm, do they advertise the gravity system multi-pen as a Space Pen?

Well, I’m not being swamped by brands and manufacturers. I’m sure I read something once implying there was an Argentinian manufacturer/brand still going.

From Korea, Ralrara has previously sent me this list of Korean brands –
E-micro
Monami
Evergreen
Dong-A
Java
You&Me
Korea Pilot
APIS
Barunson

Now some of these do export but they aren’t really worldwide international brands, well not at least to my knowledge.

Similarly from Japan I don’t really think Ohto and Platinum have much of an international presence.

Surely there are more?

wes said...

go on the space pen website and on the left side click on the specialty pens link and the scroll down and you will see the multipen

Mindstorm81 said...

There's one Australian brand that I'm aware of; Curtis.
They operate in the high end/luxury market, and to be honest, I don't like the look of them. That said, there is an Australian writing implement maker.

Jape said...

Well, the Swedes have Ballograf. The company was started by an Austrian (in Sweden), and was owned by BIC for a long time, but as far as I know, it's now Swedish again. I'm not sure if they are actually made in Sweden, though.

kiwi-d said...

Thanks very much Jape. A quick visit to the Ballograf website reveals this statement.

"Ballograf exports more than half of the entire production outside the home market. The products are successfully distributed in countries such as Japan, France, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Germany, Austria and USA. Production is still located in Västra Frölunda, just outside of Gothenburg, Sweden, where 30 employees each year produces more then 4 million ballpens and pencils."

Pencil911 said...

Camlin in India. http://www.camlin.com/

Max said...

Regarding Ballograf:
Yes, Ballograf has been taken over by the board of directors. Looks like it's doing the brand and factory well as I come across their products more often now. Ballograf used to be a very strong brand here - esp. the Epoca range. I now carry one of their pens in my breast pocket. Happy to see them as independent again!

Anonymous said...

For some reason Ballograf does not provide "Epoca p" (all plastic version) mp's in Sweden anymore while there's plenty to get from Japan and America at the same time. As a aside that means I would need to import it back to Sweden, where it was manufactured pre-export in the first place. Crazy. Hope its not that they have stopped making them all together.
I'm not patriotic in any way - nor are most swedes in general, but I like the fact that a manufacturer like Ballograf still exists, especially with the great design behind it. You also know that the people involved are cared for and getting payed like they should.

pe