Saturday, September 14, 2013

Three New Mechanical Pencils

If anyone out there is still holding their breath waiting for a new blog post… well here you are.

Whilst I haven’t been blogging for ages, and haven’t made a lot of additions to the collection, I have still been pencilling away, in one form or another. Three mechanical pencils were recently added to the collection, and here’s a little something about them. All three were a gift from a long time pencil friend. They were from the estate of a relative, and he thought I might get some enjoyment from them, which I certainly have. So here we have them.
Pelikan, Parker and Montblanc

Parker Vacumatic Mechanical Pencil

The one that initially attracted my attention was the oldest of them, the Parker Vacumatic pencil. Definitely old school, from the good old days.

The barrel imprint reads “PARKER VACUMATIC REG” and “MADE IN CANADA T.M.” I am no expert on Parkers but a quick bit of internet searching indicates Vacumatics were made from 1933 – 1948, although I believe that is USA production. Presumably Canadian manufacturing would have been similar dates. The exact details of the arrow clip and the central body band can be used to date it more precisely and it seems mine is post 1942. My pencil-friend has a family photo from 1949 showing this pencil. If anyone can date it more precisely then please yell out. The colour is apparently called Silver Pearl, one of the mainstay colours of this classic. I quite like the colour scheme; the pearl sections reflect light and give the pencil an ever changing appearance depending on the angle of view. Lead diameter is 0.9mm and lead advance is a screw mechanism. All exactly as expected for this period.

Trying out the B&W setting on Picasa photo editor. Note the detailing on the arrow pocket clip and the barrel band.

Pull the barrel apart to reveal the eraser, which has seen better days.
The Vacumatic is a nice pencil to write with, although I would prefer a 0.7mm lead version.

Pelikan Celebry Mechanical Pencil

Next we have the Pelikan Celebry.

This thing weighs a ton! It should be the Pelikan Clubby or Pelikan Basher, not Celebry. Some sort of cross between a mechanical pencil and a length of lead piping... handy in a dark-back alley brawl. Despite the colour, to me the weight makes it a "mans" pencil. (Sorry ladies, please don't take offence). One for the man cave downstairs.

Some more internet searching tells me mine is a Pelikan Celebry D565 Mechanical Pencil, Poppy Red with Black Chrome Trims (PEL 906487). Celebry was produced between 1995 and 2007.

0.7mm lead, twist advance mechanism. The top half of the barrel pulls off to reveal eraser and access to the lead storage magazine. The only wording on the pencil is CELEBRY just above the middle band.

Pelikan logo on end cap
A fine mechanical pencil, classic German quality, built to last.

Montblanc Meisterstück Mechanical Pencil

It's finally happened. Dave has a Montblanc. A Montblanc Meisterstück, the timeless classic.

At a current retail of US $415 (USA Montblanc website) this is not something I would ever buy myself, but I am very happy to have received this near new one as a gift.

For the past week I have been Montblancing it, or perhaps Ich Montblance? My trusty Lamy 2000 has been left in the drawer, and my new Meisterstück has been my daily use mechanical pencil.

To start with I have always considered the price of Montblanc to just be ridiculous. I am no stranger to paying one or even two hundred for a luxury brand mechanical pencil, but four hundred? When you are buying high end writing implements you are really buying jewellery, jewellery that just happens to also write, but even jewellery has price limits. The Meisterstück is just a plain black resin body with gold plated trims. Sure, it's a superior quality body, trims and mechanism, but to me there's just no way the price can be justified. If the body was made of exotic materials or uncommon design features then that's some justification for pricing, but the Meisterstück is not. The price simply cannot be justified. Still, Montblanc have been around a very long time and are still going strong, so clearly a lot of people disagree with me.

Having said all of that, a week of Montblancing has tempered my indignation to a degree. Its plain classic styling really is classic. Using it really did begin to give me delusions of grandeur.

The engraved centre band.
You will have to excuse my photography. I just couldn't get the engraving to show clearly.
The famous snow capped mountain.

My Meisterstück is a 0.5mm lead twist advance ratchet mechanism which my friend believes dates from sometime around the 1980's. The Montblanc website has its current description and code as Meisterstück Classique Mechanical Pencil, Ident. Nr. 12746. There is also a 0.7mm version available.
You pull the cap off to use the eraser or refill the lead chamber.

So, there we have it. Three new pencils. I started out placing them in the order Parker, Pelikan, Montblanc but finished up the reverse - Montblanc, Pelikan, Parker.

Once again, thanks to my friend for this most generous gift.