Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Some Less Common Ones

This week on the desk stand we have some less common brands of mechanical pencils, and a pen! Of course when I say less common I mean that in a general international sense, as some of them are very common in their home market.

Lets take the left hand stand first.
From top to bottom
  • Cello ballpoint pen. Cello, a leading Indian manufacturer. Don't worry, that's the only pen, the rest are all mechanical pencils.
  • Berol Turquoise TM-5. Vintage mechanical pencil from the Berol pencil company of the USA, but Made in Japan.
  • BelBol 03.306. Don't let that model number fool you, this is a 0.5mm Portaminas.
  • M&G M-1001. From one of China's largest manufacturers.
  • Kyung In SK2000. So much is written on this mechanical pencil. Left side of body = "Kyung In SK200 Made In Korea". On the pocket clip = "Michiko London Koshino". Right side of body = "KISP20001 Kyung In Co Ltd 0.5m/m"
  • Pro-Max PR-7025. As I understand it the brand translates as "Thousand Comparison Stationery"



Now for the right hand stand
From top to bottom
  • Schneider Graffix. Made in Germany.
  • Erich Krause Delta EK-22004. Triangular body. The little eraser under the top button is triangular too.
  • Soennecken 150. I really like the sound of that brand name, but of course I will be butchering the German language in the process.
  • Manufactum Druckstift Feinstrichmine, Item # 1765 1830 0.5mm. Phew, now there's a mouthful. Of course that's from the Manufactum catalogue. The actual retracting tip mechanical pencil is itself completely and utterly unmarked. No brand name, model number, lead size, country of origin... nothing
  • Tajima SP20R.
  • Tajima SS13MH.

Manufactum - totally unmarked mechanical pencil. Stainless steel body, and good vanishing point mechanism.


It is my understanding that in Japan, Tajima primarily market their mechanical pencils to carpenters, woodworkers, and other such tradies and hobbyists.

The black SS13MH has knurled metal grip and takes 1.3mm lead.
The red SP20R is loaded with 2mm red lead. It is a push top ratchet mechanical pencil, not a lead holder.

Some of the mechanical pencils shown above are also in my Collection Image Gallery.



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Pentel Excalibur and SG Series

Excalibur and SG Mechanical Pencils

pentel excalibur and sg
Crossed Swords - Black Excalibur and Gold SG
In the early days of this blog, the Pentel Excalibur was much sought after, a Grail mechanical pencil for many readers. Back in November 2009, Germ of Pencils11 blog wrote a post on his now deleted blog detailing some information about Excaliburs, and with his permission I now reprint a part of that, with a few edits and a bit of rework.
"Pentel produced the Excalibur pencils, and pen and pencil sets during the 1980's, and was still making Excalibur rollerball pens up until a few years ago. To garner greater sales in the middle 80's Pentel was a sponsor of the 1984 Olympics, and released a limited edition 1984 Olympic Excalibur pen and pencil set in a velvet display box, plus some single pens in presentation box. I'm not sure why they stopped making the Excalibur pencils and sets, but this is likely due to economic reasons and lack of demand. It's a shame, since these were, and I think still are, considered one of Pentel's flagship non drafting pencils. To use a pun, the name says it all.....
T
he Excalibur and SG series pencils write extremely well, and are balanced just right, as I am sure Dave will tell you. They exude writing confidence, and beg you to continue writing for hours on end. Lightweight, yet heavy enough to be felt, fatigue is rare. Aesthetically, these pencils are just beautiful. I challenge anyone to find a non-drafting mechanical pencil that tops the Excalibur. :)
Side Note: Pentel did release a non-Excalibur 1984 Olympic pen/pencil set. It has a Q565 for the pencil." -Germ, Pencils11 blog, 2009.
pentel excalibur los angeles olympic ex20 pen pencil set
Pentel Excalibur 1984 Los Angeles Olympics pen/pencil set

pentel excalibur olypmic logo

I have been doing more digging into the Excalibur and SG pencils, but with only somewhat limited success. Despite that, I feel it is time to publish something and maybe people out there will know some more.

Many people, myself included, use Excalibur as the name of a Pentel model of matching pen and mechanical pencil from the 1980’s, but that is misleading as Excalibur is really a sub-brand of Pentel. The 1982 Pentel catalogue states “Excalibur, the prestige line of Pentel pens and pencils…” Over the years the many and varied pens and pencils marketed as Excalibur have changed and were often totally unrelated to each other apart from the fact that they were all called Excalibur by Pentel. For example in the 1982 Pentel USA catalogue there were the following Excaliburs
  • The RX300/RX40x/RX50x series of ‘Slim’ Excalibur pens (with no matching pencils),
  • The RMJ series of pens and matching pencils,
  • The RXE5/PXE5 pen/pencil set, and
  • The Sharp Kerry style R1000/P1035A pen/pencil set. (The 1982 catalogue makes it clear that the pencil is just a standard P1035 Sharp Kerry, not marked as an Excalibur, but added only to make a pen/pencil set.)
So that is four different, basically unrelated, types of Excaliburs being sold at the same time in the early 80’s. All of these Excaliburs were gone at some stage before 1990, replaced by an ever changing line-up of new Excaliburs, and by the mid/late 2000’s the concept of the Excalibur prestige line had seemingly disappeared into the mists of Pentel history... but even today remnants still remain if you go hunting for them.

This article is about the RMJ series Excaliburs, as they are the pens and pencils most commonly simply called “Excaliburs” on websites, blogs, Ebay, etc. It is also about the closely related SG model pencils. It is an attempt to definitively identify the various models. By definitively, I mean from original source material, i.e. Pentel or retailer catalogues, flyers, etc. Unsubstantiated statements and images on websites and blogs, photographs from Ebay etc do not count as definitive sources. We all know that pencils can end up in mismatched boxes and websites are not always reliable, so they cannot be regarded as conclusive proof of model identification.

The Excalibur (RMJ) Models

Production start and finish unsure, but essentially 1979/1980 – 1985/1990. All mechanical pencils are 0.7mm only.
pentel excalibur mechanical pencils gold and black
Two Excaliburs - PX7-21 (top) and SG7
Black with gold trims (shown 1979 Int & 1980 USA catalogue)
• Pen = RG10  “RMJ” series
• Pencil = SG7 (note this is an Excalibur , not an "SG", despite the SG in the model number)
• As a set = EX17

Brushed gold (shown 1979 Int & 1980 USA catalogue) (pen finish called gold florentine and pencil finish called anodized brushed gold in 1982 catalogue)
• Pen = RX21 “RMJ” series (black front section)
• Pencil = PX7-21
• As a set = EX20

Brushed chrome (shown 1979 Int & 1980 USA catalogue) (called hairline brushed aluminium in 1982 catalogue)
• Pen = R10 “RMJ” series (black front section)
• Pencil = P1007
• As a set = EX12

The pencil numbers in particular make no sense to me. They are all the same pencil apart from their colourway, but their product numbers have little to nothing in common with each other.

excalibur cases
Two Excalibur presentation cases.

pentel excalibur pencil and brochure
Excalibur brochure



SG Series Mechanical Pencils 

The Pentel SG series mechanical pencils are identical to the Pentel Excalibur RMJ series pencils except that their centre ring is angle scribed (similar to a helical gear wheel) rather than the “crown” pattern of Excalibur, and of course they are not marked Excalibur. Lead diameters are also different – Excalibur being 0.7mm and SG being 0.3mm and 0.5mm.

pentel sg65 and excalibur mechanical pencils
SG65 (top) and PX7-21 Excalibur (bottom)

pentel excalibur and sg pencil center rings
SG on left with angle gear centre ring and Excalibur on right with crown centre ring and Excalibur logo
It is interesting to note that the Excaliburs seem to always feature prominently in Pentel USA catalogues, but the SG pencils are never mentioned.  This implies Pentel USA did not sell SG pencils, or at least if they did sell them, then only as a very minor item. The only catalogue I know with the SG series in it is the 1980 Japanese language catalogue, of which I only have a low resolution B&W scan. Therefor all other models listed below are not definitive and are from photographs of pencils and their boxes or website descriptions.

The general numbering scheme of SG pencils appears to be: First digit = colourway, Second digit = lead size.

SG75 – gold with black pinstripes. (Model is noted in 1980 Japan catalogue, but translation of the colourway is not 100% definite. However, combined with various auctions of the gold with black pinstripes in a Pentel box labelled SG75 box mean this is 99.99% confident)
SG65 – gold. (Noted in 1980 Japan catalogue)
SG45 (assumed) – coloured. Known colours are brown, blue and green from online auctions and other collectors. (Was there also a red?)
SG35 (assumed) – silver/aluminium.
SG33 (assumed) – silver/aluminium, 0.3mm lead size.
SG15 – black (Noted in 1980 Japan catalogue)

pentel sg75, sg65 and sg33 mechanical pencils
SG75, SG65 and SG33 Mechanical Pencils
pentel r7 sg75 pen pencil set
R7 pen + SG75 pencil set

SV Series Mechanical Pencils

The 1980 Japanese language catalogue only mentions the SG15, SG65 and SG75. It does not mention the SG33/35, but it does show the silver/aluminium SV (0.3mm) and SV5 (0.5mm) pencils which appear to be very similar, perhaps even identical to the SG series. Perhaps these are the SG33 and SG35 and they will simply be renumbered as SG33/35 in the future?

Acknowledgement
I would like to thank Nimrodd for access to various Pentel catalogues and Kanjiman for invaluable translation services.

Request For Further Information
If anyone can add any further information to the above then please let me know. For example
• A catalogue or retail advertisement showing an SG33/35/45 and therefor proving the model number.
• A 1970’s catalogue, or a late 1980’s, without any Excaliburs, or completely different ones, thus narrowing down the start and finish dates.
• Any information on SV pencils.
Those are just some examples of the sort of information that would help, but basically if you have any information that you think might help then please let me know.

pentel lencelot mechanical pencil
Pentel Lancelot

Monday, January 07, 2019

Return Quantech

Summer and blog holiday is over. Back to reality.

I hope you all have had a good start to 2019, and that it will be a good year for us all.

So, just a few bits and pieces to kick off 2019 with.

If you are looking for something new(ish) to read you might want to check out Pen Museum blog. It's a good read.

My best holiday photo. Took it with my phone camera so it turned out pretty good. An oi was just sitting there on the track, ignoring us humans... hopefully no one ate him.


I used to buy a holiday pencil every holiday, but haven't done so for quite a while. I think I should start again, so here's the last holiday mechanical pencil I purchased. The BIC Quantech. I got it a few years ago, whilst visiting the Continent of Kangaroos.
BIC Quantech #2 0.7mm mechanical pencil
Kangaroo?
BIC might be mostly known for economical and lower value office supplies, so in their range the Quantech is a premium offer. Its not bad. Silver metallic look good quality plastic body with chrome metal pocket clip and metal grip.

I really quite like the metal grip. It is a criss-cross pattern, like a light knurling. It always seems to catch the light.
bic quantech pencil grip
It doesn't work quite as well as it looks
3mm retractable lead sleeve, 0.7mm lead, push top ratchet mechanism, small eraser with clear cover. Made in China. That's all standard stuff,  but BIC really have done a good job on the visual styling of this mechanical pencil.
bic quantech mechanical pencil eraser
I'm not sure of the Qunatech's current status. It might be discontinued.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Farewell 2018

Christmas and summer holiday silly season is upon me, so time to officially put blog things on hold.

I hope you all have a happy end to 2018 and a good start to 2019.

Thanks for reading, see you in mid-January or so.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A Few Fabers

On my desk display this week, a few from Faber-Castell

Ambition
Twice multi pen  (1 x BP, 1 x MP tip)
Basic
TK Fine Vario L
TK Fine Executive

I often think that the TK Fine Executive and Vario L are the "Forgotten Fabers". They have been around for so long and never seem to get the hype, advertising, acknowledgement or attention of their constantly changing array of competitors from Japan and elsewhere.

Sometimes you just have to lay down some ink. Don't hate on me, the G-man makes me do it !
FP e-motion pearwood dark brown
BP e-motion pearwood dark brown
MP e-motion pearwood black

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Rhodia scRipt Mechanical Pencil Review

Rhodia scRipt Mechanical Pencil Review

Rhodia are well known for their orange covered paper products, and have had their own-brand woodcase pencil for many years so it is no real surprise that one day they decided to introduce a mechanical pencil to their range. I have seen it advertised in black, brown and silver but I am showcasing the scRipt in Rhodia’s signature colour, orange. Now when I say orange, I really mean ORANGE! The sort of orange that would make Dutch folk go crazy. If you are not a fan of orange then look away now and go back to your home page because this blog post will burn your eyes. This pencil was sent to me by Cult Pens without any safety warning but luckily I am not orange-intolerant.
rhodia script mechanical pencil
Rhodia orange, adding some colour to any day
Rhodia write the model name as scRipt and the packaging states the mechanical pencil is made in Japan and has a brushed aluminium body. Somewhat unusually for a Made in Japan mechanical pencil, I cannot find the word “Japan” on the pencil itself. I am certainly not implying anything by that statement, I am just making an observation. The hexagonal body is brushed aluminium so is initially cool to the touch. It is anodised or somehow otherwise coloured orange, and what an orange it is.  It is very deep and vibrant, with a reasonably glossy finish, much deeper and more vibrant than the orange of its packaging and of my Rhodia pads. You can see the brushed aluminium effect on the hexagonal body through the colour. The tip section, top button and pocket clip are however slightly different to the body. They appear more like a painted or lacquer finish, smooth and full gloss with a hint of metallic.
orange rhodia script mechanical pencil
Simple times with Rhodia notepad and pencil
Like many aluminium bodied mechanical pencils the Rhodia scRipt is still relatively lightweight, although at 17grams it is heavier than many of its aluminium brethren. In the hand it feels substantial and the balance is fairly neutral, perhaps slightly towards the tip. The hexagonal body should suit most hands but there is no specific grip section or grip enhancement.

The pocket clip is strong and sturdy, and carries the Rhodia branding. Combined with the hexagonal body this is a no desk roll pencil.
rhodia script top cap
Rhodia scRipt top cap, eraser and lead chamber
The lead advance is a standard push top ratchet system, and ten clicks will advance about 8mm of the 0.5mm lead. The mechanism feels smooth and positive. Up at the top end, there is the usual small emergency use eraser under the top cap and you pull the eraser out to access the lead magazine. Unfortunately though the plastic lead magazine tube is quite loose and wobbly inside the outer metal body and when the top cap is in place there is often an audible metallic rattling as the top cap wobbles around inside the metal body. This is a bit of an annoying let down on an otherwise good quality product. I imagine a bit of tape wrapped around the base of the top button would put an end to the rattle.
rhodia script mechanical pencil sliding sleeve tip retracted
scRipt tip retracted
rhodia sliding sleeve extended
scRipt mechanical pencil sliding sleeve extended
I must admit to a surprise the first time I pushed down on the top button. Out popped a 4mm sliding sleeve. I just automatically expected the scRipt would be a general writing pencil, but Rhodia have obviously tried to cater for the more technically orientated artist as well as the general user. To help reduce lead breakage there is also a lead cushioning system in the tip as well, so the lead will spring back in a millimetre or so under heavy pressure. Of course some don't like cushioning systems, feeling they make things feel squishy and less precise, but I don't usually agree with that view as the amount of pressure required to push the spring back is quite a lot. The retractable sliding sleeve means this is a pocket safe pencil.

Overall then this is a decent mechanical pencil, and if you are a fan of Rhodia notebooks or paper and want a mechanical pencil then the scRipt in orange should be on your list of options.

•    Best Points – ORANGE!
•    Not So Good Points – The rattle
•    Price Range – Mid
•    Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? – No
Dimensions – Length   132mm extended, 9mm across the flats of the hexagonal body section. Balance point about 65mm up from the tip.

Disclaimer: This Rhodia scRipt mechanical pencil was sent to me free of charge by Cult Pens. Thanks Cult Pens.

The Rhodia scRipt orange mechanical pencil is much more orange than Rhodia pad covers, although these images make the pad cover orange look rather light and washed out. My apologies to the marketing folk at Rhodia.

rhodia script orange mechanical pencil