Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Newman Mechanical Pencil

I have tripped across a few Newman mechanical pencils over the years, but know very little about the company, and their pencils haven’t leapt up and slapped me across the face to get my attention… until now.

What little I can find out about Newman can he summarised as follows. Newman were a reasonably common and successful Japanese brand in the 1960’s through 80’s. The end. If you know more, then please do enlighten me.

Anyway, quite a few years ago, Germ of the now long gone Pencils11 blog sent me a box of “odds and sods” and within it a Newman mechanical pencil caught my attention. With this blog being on hiatus for so long, it has taken me all this time to get around to posting about it, but here goes.

At first this seems like a reasonably ordinary slim line stainless steel mechanical pencil with lightly grooved grip section and a rather attractive bright red push top button.
newman mechanical pencil

Let’s push the button to advance the lead.
sleeve partially retracted

That’s a bit strange; the red push top button is actually a sleeve around the real inner stainless button. Pushing the button down has pushed the sleeve about half way into the body, and it stays there. Also, the sleeve is attached to the pocket clip, so the pocket clip has also slid down a channel in the body and now exposes the letter “BP”. I’m confused. Ballpoint? The multi-national oil conglomerate? I don’t know.

But the pocket clip channel is longer still, so you can slide the pocket clip and the sleeve further down, all the way down, down and out.
newman mechanical pencil top button sleeve fully retracted

Now just a tiny little red ring is left. Rotring as some might be tempted to say.

Really, I’ve got no idea what this system is all about, perhaps the sleeve is some sort of anti-accidental activation device? Or perhaps it is just purely aesthetic, for when you have the pencil clipped in your shirt pocket the shiny red sleeve is fully extended? Has anybody got any other ideas?

A couple of other images for you.


Michael said...

Welcome back,
Maybe you were supposed to pull the clip down to reveal the lead activation button. Does the lead sleeve move at all when you move the clip?

isu said...


I have the same Newman's mechanical pencil as this, and what I have has a short ballpoint refill in the push button. When it is button-side down, the ballpoint tip appears.

But I don't know for what the clip slides...

Kiwi-d said...

Hi Michael. I should have made it clear. The lead activation button works with the sleeve part way or all the way down. The red sleeve is attached to the pocket clip internally so sliding the pocket clip up and down moves the sleeve up and down, and vice-versa. The lead sleeve at the tip is fixed, it is not retractable.

Isu!! Great to hear from you. Your pictures explain things. It is now obvious to me that my pencil also originally had a ballpoint refill too, but that has been lost.

My pencil also has something shaking inside. Almost like it is a shaker lead advance mechanism, but it is not. The shaker is too light. Does your pencil also have a shaking weight inside?

Kiwi-d said...

Isu - I forgot to ask. Do you know anything about Newman company? What happened to them?

Anonymous said...

Stan from Fountain Pen Network posted some info about Newman back in 2010:
"Newman was a substantial maker of mechanical pencils in the 1960s and early 1970s. As best I know they began production in the late 1950s. Their production generally mirrored the common styles produced by Pilot and other makers. Sakura, another company from the same era is also often found.

From my experience their quality is average, just as I would state about Pilot or Platinum or other maker. They all had mechanical innards that all seemed to work without any unusual problems. From my perspective, they were particularly innovative in their designs or that were they trendsetting. My preferences in design go to some Pilots, a few Sakura, Hoshiesu, and silver Platinums."

On Yahoo Japan, I've browsed a lot of Newman pencils and most of their designs don't impress me. Some look very similar to PILOT, Sailor, and Platinum. There are a few rare designs I'd like to have, but they're very hard to come by. I never saw this one. Looks curious.

So Dave, does the build quality feel very much like a Pilot? Can you provide a photo of the pencil disassembled? Would be curious to see how the mechanism works on this one. :-)

Kiwi-d said...

Hi PenM. Thanks for the info. Externally the build quality looks good, nothing for Newman to feel embarrassed about. I'm afraid I'm not much one for dissembling... had one to many bad experiences :) This one also doesn't want to obviously or easily come apart.

2nd_astronaut said...

I have the feeling Stan is a bit too critical here ...

It's a surprise for me Newman was a maker, not just a brand. I quite like some designs of their pencils like or . Their quality corresponds to the price (either 1000, 1500 or 2000 Yen) for my feeling.

The Newman for Drafting are definitely sought after. This is the top model of the series The similarity to the Pilot Automatic (the older one, not Automac) is clearly visible and the quality equally feels rock-solid.