Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Closed For The Holiday

It's that summer holiday time of year again. Well, maybe not quite just yet, but the Christmas holidays are fast approaching, so it's time to put this blog on hold until sometime in mid/late January. Of course I may publish a post or two in between if I have the time and incilination, but no promises. The big event for early 2011 is of course the DMP Fifth Anniversary. Hold your breath in eager anticipation.

As always, thanks for reading this blog, your comments and correspondence are always appreciated. Whether you celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, a secular holiday, or not at all, I wish you well for my festive and holiday season, and for 2011.

Ka kite ano

Friday, December 10, 2010

The 2010 DMP's

Welcome to the third annual DMP Awards.

Just to remind you, any mechanical pencil or other item featured on this blog in the 2010 calendar year is eligible for an award, but preference is given to mechanical pencils. Awards will not be given if there are no suitable candidates. The awards are:-

The “Bonus Slice of Pav” and “Last Nights Left Over Warm Flat Stale Ale” - special awards for anything judged worthy of an award, good or bad, respectively.

The “Pencil of Shame” awarded for the worst pencil (or item).

And the supreme award, the “Mordan-Hayakawa Trophy” for the best mechanical pencil (or item) of the year.

All decisions are final and the judges need offer no justification or defence of their decisions.

Right then, the first envelope please. This year there were no nominations for the Pencil of Shame, so that's a good start. However there were two nominations for a Last Nights Left Over Warm Flat Stale Ale award - the Yoropen Pencil and Monami Gripix-T leads. After due consideration the judges decided that both were enough of a let down to be awarded an open bottle of left over flat stale ale.

Enough of the negative! Moving on to things more positive. First up, the nominees for a Bonus Slice of Pav are:
Keun Young notebook
Platinum Hayakawa M-10000B mechanical pencil
Yoropen Pencil
Zebra Sharbo X multi pen
Papermate Biodegradable mechanical pencil
Tombow Onbook mechanical pencil

The judges have decided to award a Bonus Slice of Pav to Keun Young notebook (cheap, little, unpretentious but damn useful) and Zebra Sharbo X multi pen (love the options and customization).

The judges noted the apparent contradiction of the Yoropen Pencil being nominated for both a Bonus Slice of Pav and a Last Nights Left Over Warm Flat Stale Ale award. The first being for it's attempt at innovation, the later for failing.

Now for the main event. This year there was a strong field of nominees for the supreme award. The nominees are:
  • Mitsubishi Pure Malt Oak Wood Premium Edition mechanical pencil - a great tribute and special edition pencil.
  • Rotring Side Knock mechanical pencil - a very interesting mechanism
  • Metaphys VISS 44050 eraser - a new twist on the old problem of keeping a sharp edge
  • Platinum OLEeNU mechanical pencil mechanism - stronger is better, and for once the marketing hype is true.
  • Rotring 600 mechanical pencil - the august classic just keeps on going.
Drum roll...this years winner of the supreme award, the Mordan-Hayakawa Trophey is...
the Platinum OLEeNU mechanical pencil mechanism. Just as Kuru Toga showed, there are still advancements to be made in the design of mechanical pencils.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Cross Classic Century Pencils

Cross Classic Century Pencil

The roots of the A. T. Cross Company go all the way back to Providence, Rhode Island and the year 1846. Elegant gold and silver casings for wooden pencils were among their first products and pencils continue to be an important part of the Cross product line up. The Cross website has this to say about the Classic Century range of writing instruments.
Forever Classic 
An icon of American design and innovation. The choice of movers, shakers and ground breakers since 1946.
Does form follow function? Or does function drive form? Whatever your point of view, Classic Century delivers. Its sleek profile and patented twist-action barrel sparked a design revolution. Generations later passionate fans remain loyal to the iconic silhouette, while trendsetters appreciate its authenticity. Cool comes full circle.
I’ve ended up with three Cross Classic Century mechanical pencils – two old BP/MP sets and a recent MP.

cross classic century pen pencil sets
From top to bottom
  • Classic Century 10K Gold Filled/Rolled Gold 0.5mm mechanical pencil with 23-karat gold plated appointments. Twist action ratchet lead advance with retractable sleeve. Cross item 450305. This is a current item. 
  • Classic Century Classic Black ballpoint pen / 0.9mm mechanical pencil set, with the Mobil Pegasus logo on the pocket clips. Screw mechanism lead advance. Cross item 2501. This is a vintage item, and marked “Made In USA”. 
  • Classic Century Lustrous Chrome ballpoint pen / 0.9mm mechanical pencil set. Screw mechanism lead advance. Cross item 3501. This is a vintage item, and marked “Made In USA”.
cross classic century mechanical pencils

Two generations. Modern 0.5mm and classic 0.9mm.
cross classic century pencil tip
At some stage I suppose I should try and find out when Cross introduced 0.5mm and when they dropped 0.9mm. If you've got an old Cross catalogue feel free to tell me what lead diameters it has in it.

A perennial favourite. A lot of the Cross writing instruments down my way seem to have been business gifts, embellished with company logos.
cross classic century pocket clip mobil logo

Pull the top half of the body off to access the eraser. The classic Classic has an eraser, but as a screw action mechanism new leads are fed in through the tip. Spare leads are stored inside the body beneath the eraser, but thats just storage, to replace a used up lead a new one has to be removed from under the eraser and inserted in through the tip.
Cross classic century eraser

The current Classic has an eraser as expected, and you pull that out to access the lead refill magazine.
cross classic century lead refill magazine

Note the change in font for CROSS on the pocket clips. Current above classic.
cross logo

The modern Cross Century Classic in 10K Gold Filled – as timeless and popular as a day at the beach with fish-n-chips for dinner.
cross classic century 10k rolled gold mechanical pencil

The Cross Classic Century 10K rolled gold pencil featured in this article was supplied by Euroffice, an office supplies specialist in the UK, in exchange for being featured on this blog and an acknowledgement.