Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Scripto W610 Thick Lead Pencil

I got this part box of old Scripto mechanical pencils in a mixed lot auction a couple of years ago.As you can see the box states they are model W610 pencils, and cost 29cents. The fine print mentions both Scripto USA and Canada, so maybe back in the day they were 29cents in both countries? I suppose 29cents got you one pencil rather than one boxful as the fine print states, “To display: Separate at perforation and discard top”. I can’t see any perforations anywhere…
The pencils are very basic. You twist the top knob around to advance the lead, and it’s obviously intended as a propel-only screw mechanism, although you can wind backwards and then force the lead back up inside. I assume it was meant to be a disposable mechanical pencil and that you cannot refill the lead once it is all used up. The lead itself is not a graphite lead, rather it is some sort of waxy crayon type lead, roughly about 3mm diameter. It is a good dark black colour. I guess this pencil was sold for durably marking difficult surfaces, an alternative to today’s felt tip markers?

17 comments:

George said...

Great post. We called them china markers. Came in many colors and were refillable. Refills were scripto item number G920. We used these for years in the Army. Great item for a scripto collector.

kiwi-d said...

Thanks George.
Can you recall was it this exact model or a similar one?
How do you refill them?

George said...

They have refills on e-bay all the time. I was looking in one of my old scripto catalogs. Model W610 all purpose marking pencil could be used with different kinds of lead. The type leads that would write on glass, plastic, acetate, vinyl and metal. On my 20 July post, top right is my W610 in blue plus a W660 Mechanical eraser. Same body for both. The W610 came in black, blue, red, green yellow, and white. As you get to the end of the lead, you just pull it out. Stick in a replacment and hit it against something hard so it will stick. Most of the leads that I have seen are a grease/wax type material, like a crayon. Great pencils. Hope this helps.

kiwi-d said...

Thanks George

Julia said...

I thought it sounded like what I've always called a china marker as well, though the ones I used as a young whippersnapper copy editor was not mechanical. Rather the lead was wrapped in a narrow spiral of paper, and you "sharpened" it by pulling an embedded string to cut the bottom wrap or two of the paper spiral, and then removing the now-loose paper end. I'm probably not describing this very well, am I? Let me see if I can find a link ...

OK, check this out to see what I meant with all that blather up there:
http://www.sharpie.com/enUS/Product/Sharpie_Peel-Off_China_Marker.html

Stephen said...

I believe Listo is still around, and are still manufacturing something similar:

http://www.listo.com/pencil.htm

Anonymous said...

That was Scripto's answer to the Listo marking pencil. I had a few back in the day.

Techniclick said...

Cool. Scriptos are handsome classic pencils.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Dave,

We've been using "China marking pencils" for many years to write information on flagging and weatherproof tags and survey stakes for forestry work. We use black leads mainly but also use red sometimes. We get ours from Skilcraft under government contract. But the refills are getting to be difficult to find. Traditional suppliers aren't carrying them anymore.

We used to use the peel-off paper type but the mechanical China markers are much more compact and easier to use. (And not as wasteful.)

The markers work much better than permanent ink for outdoor use. Permanent ink can fade in a matter of months, while the waxy lead stays legible for years in the rain, snow, and sun. I've come across old timber sale unit boundary tags that are over 25 years old and the printing is still readable.

Any good forester keeps a few China markers in their pocket and a ready supply of refills in the glove box.

Tom

kiwi-d said...

Thanks for the info Tom.

Dave B said...

We used the paper-bound china markers when I worked in the photo industry. You could mark a photo with it and then wipe it off without damaging the photo.

68NAMVET said...

Didn't know they were a colectable! I still use mine at work as I have for the last 40 years. I guess I better see how many grease sticks I have left!!

Joanne said...

I took mine apart to replace the lead and can't figure out how to put it back together. The lead won't advance any more. Post pictures of the inside please? I know I should be able to figure this out but it fell on the floor and I just can't!

Kiwi-d said...

Sorry Joanne, I don't know how ot take this pencil apart, or how to refill it. George mentions refilling in the comments above.

Anonymous said...

These are also available from Skilcraft, NSN 7520-00-223-6672

as seen about 2/3 of the way down the page here:
http://www.abilityonecatalog.com/products.aspx?sid=6

and available for purchase here:
http://www.abilityone.com/OA_HTML/ibeCCtpItmDspRte.jsp?section=10634&item=7172&sitex=10020:22372:US
(the picture on this page appears incorrect for the item and NSN)

PointFour said...

For a pencil with multiple "lead" types to write on different substrates - but not, apparently, chinagraph-type waxy "lead" - compare the Woerther Shorty Pencil. Here's Cult Pens' record: "It comes with a 3.15mm thick soft 7B graphite lead and can write on almost any material including wood, metal, paper, plastic, glass (using red lead) or x-rays (using white lead)." Their Woerther page is here: http://www.cultpens.com/acatalog/Worther.html and Woerther's own home page is here: http://www.woerther.de/index.html but it's an all-Flash site.

Anonymous said...

When I joined the prison service back in 1984 these were used extensively for marking roll boards etc. They eventually disappeared and were replaced by modern markers. I wish I could get my hands on a few as nothing beats them.