Sunday, January 24, 2021

Uni Jetstream ballpoint

This review will be about the Uni Jetstream ballpoint pen. I do believe this is the best ballpoint pen on the market and I encourage you to give it a try, even if you are not a fan of ballpoints. I think you will find enjoyment in using it.
"In 1887 Niroku Masaki founded the company UNI in Tokyo Japan. In 1979 it became the UNI Mitshubishi Pencil. The name UNI comes from the word unic."
The company has in its portfolio a variety of rollers and ink pens. The Jetstream is part of the "hybrid" line, combining the technology from ballpoints and from rollers. It writes more like a roller and the writing is water resistant.
There are multiple pens in the Jetstream line but I will be talking about the SXN 101 which is available in size 0.5 and 0.7 mm line width.

The writing sensation offered by the Jetstream is incredible. It is smooth, it writes consistently, no hard starts and no skips and it keeps up all the time. I would say the most important thing for the pen is the writing experience. I am using the 0.5 mm version and it feels very nice. 
The pen is nothing fancy but it feels good in the hand.  It is all made out of plastic, the body is translucent and has the color of the paste inside. The Jetstream is available in a number of interesting colors besides the standard blue, black and red. 
The grip is made out of rubber, and it has a very pleasant feel. It is long-lasting, it is smooth and hard at the same time, and it is very solidly attached to the body, there is no movement. The drawback of it is the fact you can not see the level of the refill.
I can't say that the clip is the most solid, and it feels like it is going to break without too much effort but it is reasonable for the price you pay. I would like it to be a bit stronger as this is a reusable pen, but taking into account the pen costs just a little more than a refill in case it brakes you can just get a new one. The action of the mechanism is very solid and feels good when used.
As I already mentioned this is a reusable pen, the tip unscrews thus allowing you to change the refill.


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Seen on the screen, Christmas mood

This is not the traditional Christmas movie, it is Bad Santa 2.
In the opening scenes, Billy Bob Thornton is writing his goodby notes on a, what seems to be, a pizza box with a Parker Jotter pen.

It is a red plastic barrel Jotter pen. It is not very clear but I think it is the translucent version.

In a very messy kitchen between empty bottles and a lot of trash

Billy Bob Thornton is using the Parker Jotter to note down his last wish

Of course, he doesn't go through with his plans, as it would be a bit depressing for a Christmas movie and also very short.


Thursday, December 24, 2020

I wish you all a wonderful time beside the loved ones Take care, stay safe and enjoy the holidays.



 

Friday, December 4, 2020

Faber Castell lead grade and a bit of history

I stumbled upon a catalog from Faber Castell which I consider to be very interesting, "Product Knowledge Manual".
The catalog starts with a short history of the company and its line. I like that the history was detailed and well documented.

I encourage you to read it but I will give below a short version presenting the important moments, so be aware, spoilers will come. 
-In 1761 Kasper Faber produces a pencil in Stein and sells it in a market in Nuremberg. 
-Then his son Anton Wilhelm Faber takes over and the workshop becomes A.W. Faber. After the business is taken over by Georg Leonhard Faber, but he doesn't do too well, as the business goes through rough times (political and economic difficult period). 
-The son of Georg, Lothar von Faber takes over and develops the business.
He develops the modern quality pencil, sets the length and different grades of hardness that remain valid today, also it is the first time to produce a hexagonal section
The pencil is labeled A.W. Faber, becoming the world's first brand pencil. Also, he expands and founds a branch in New York, and subsidiaries in London, Paris, Vienna, St Petersburg.
-Wilhelm von Faber, the son of Lothar runs the company for a while. 
-After Wilhelm's death, his daughter Baroness Ottilie von Faber marries Count Alexander zu Castell Rudenhausen. Lothar before his death through his testament assured that future generations will have to keep the Faber name. So after the marriage of Ottilie and Alexander, the family name became Faber - Castell. At this time the company became Faber-Castell.
In 1905 the green Castell pencil range is launched, with a new product logo "Tournament of the jousting Pencil Knights"
-Roland Graf von Faber-Castell, son of Ottilie and Alexander succeeds 
-Followed by his son Anton Wolfgang Graf von Faber-Castell ran the company until 2016
-After his death, the company was taken over by a board of directors of which Countess Mary von Faber-Castell is part of


Indeed an interesting history. So between 1839–1896, Lothar the 4th generation of Faber's running the pencil business standardized what today is a Faber Castell pencil, the basic shape, and the lead hardness grade. In 1905 Alexander, the 6th generation made the traditional Faber Castell green.

They tell us that "the ideal writing pencil (for example in office) is the medium degree of harness so-called HB, while the school student's pencil has a B hardness degree.

I always thought that a #2 pencil is the equivalent HB, but apparently, it is B.
1     2     2 1/2     3     4
2B  B      HB      H   2H

Faber Castell offers the model 9000 pencil in 16 degrees of hardness, which is awesome. Also, in the manual the diagram of the mixture between clay and graphite for all the hardnes's.

It is interesting as we can approximate the mixing of the two components to get the different hardness. Just at a glance, you can see around the HB is an inflection point where the increase of graphite in the composition is less and less. I mean that between a 2b and 4b the formula seems to be very similar. 
Based on this graphic the composition rounded up to an integer. The b - 8b is increasing the graphite by an increment of 2 percent. 
Also, the HB is not a 50% mix of the two but 66% of graphite and only 34% of clay.
This is true of course for Faber Castell as the hardness of the lead is not standardize, so different manufacturers can produce the HB pencils a bit different.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

World record for sharpening pencils

A very interesting section can be found on speedrun.com on sharpening pencils.
For those of you who don't know, speedrun is a site where you can compete with other people via the internet in different challenges. For example, you can compete to finish a certain level of a game in the shortest time possible. It is not important the score, the execution, or anything else. The only important thing is to obtain the shortest time possible.
You will find classic games like Mario or Wolfenstein, but also there is a section for sharpening pencils.
There are multiple disciplines in pencil sharpening, from sprint to marathon.
Sharpening 10, 69, 100, 420, 1000, 1500 and 6942 pencils.
The most competitive scene is the sprint with 10 pencils. The world record for sharpening 10 pencils is 3 minutes and 51 seconds, at this moment at least.
If you fancy being a world champion here is your opportunity.  In case the 3'51" proves too hard to beat you can opt for the marathon, in category 1500 there is only one time at the moment registered and for 6942 pencils there is no competitor. So this will guarantee a spot on the podium indifferent of the time.

glhf = Good luck and have fun

Thursday, November 5, 2020

fountain pens in Dark series on Netflix s1e8

 Continuing the Dark binging this weekend I have spotted in season 1 episode 8 two nice fountain pens. This time the action is further back in time in 1953, and the camera doesn't show too much to be able to recognize easily what pens are in the picture.

The first fountain pen that appears in the shot is a classic looking cigar shape pen that resembles a Pelikan, but it is impossible for me to tell if indeed it's a Pelican or what model. We can only see the shape, the trim on the cap, and on the body, but the clip and nib are not visible.
The shot doesn't last too long and it presents the fountain pen on top of a case file.

The second fountain pen is used by a young boy to do math.
Again I can't really say what the young boy is using, but it seems to have a hooded or a semi hooded nib, gold color. It could be a Pelikan MK model but I think all of those were snap cap while this cap was screwed on to the body by the boy. Also, Montblanc nr 32 has a very close appearance but the logo on the cap is not present.

The cap has gold trim and the clip is also golden and looks flat, it could be different but in the pictures, the clip is not seen very well. The clip is connected with a golden metal part to the cap.
The body does not feature any trims, and the top part of it looks to be in a slightly different color

Another wild guess about the fountain pen is Lamy 27, it has the gold trim, it has the screw cap. In the end, it is guesswork as it is hard to see details, as no closeups are available.


Being so far back the director might intentionally omit such closeups just to be safe, and not mess up the story with products that were not available to the consumers back then.


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Rotring Isograph in Netflix Dark series

During a lazy weekend, I started watching the german series Dark. It is quite an interesting TV Show, and a bit difficult to keep up with the action, being a time travel movie.

In 1986 Charlotte is analyzing and keeping track of the death of birds.

In the middle of the forest, Charlotte is drawing and writing in the journal all the details with a Rotring 2000 Isograph in 0.25 mm size.
Rotring Isograph is a technical pen that uses pigmented ink. Being a technical pen it comes in all the possible sizes from 0.1 mm to 2.0 mm and everything in between. It uses refillable cartridges.

It is nice that the producers of the show have gone to the length of finding correct writing instruments for the period of time presented, and not only that, but they used such an iconic product.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Rotring polimer leads

When it comes to polymer leads Rotrings are the ones I love. They are average priced but exceptional writers. The leads write very smoothly, and it's hard to emphasize this enough. The best way is to try it yourself if you have not tried them yet. Also, it is rare for them to break. So I give them 10 out of 10.

When rOtring introduced it's first mechanical pencil, of course, it had to come up with the leads for it. So in 1979 when the Tikky was introduced to the public the first polymers from rOtring came to market as well. The leads came in a package that resembled the 2 mm.
In the catalog, rOtring specifies that the leads are resistant to breaking, and they come in size 0.3 / 0.5 / 0.7 and different hardness levels.
As you can see back then rOtring was marketing their sizes differently 0.3 instead of 0.35 nowadays and 1.0 instead of 0.9 nowadays.
As I used rOtrings a little bit later down the line I did not use this first model but I don't remember the early leads to be that resistant as it was not unusual for the pencils to get clogged up. 
rOtring catalog 1980 Romania 

A new design of the lead box was released in the later years. I do not know exactly when the new design was launched to the market but it was before 1990. Most likely the formula changed as well as the package. The leads were not any kind of Polymer but a hi-Polymer.
The new lead boxes contained 16 leads divided evenly into two compartments that. The compartments were independent and each had its own cap, even though the caps were connected to each other.
rOtring catalog 1990
Sometime before 1996 rOtring changed the packaging of the leads again. The big change is the fact that rOtring in this period transitioned from the old labeling of sizes to the modern labeling. I mean that the previous size 0.3 was marketed as 0.3 / 0.35 mm, and the 1.0 changed to 0.9 / 1.0.
In addition to the size, color coding was added to the label. And of course, the number of leads in the package was reduced to 12 pieces instead of the previous 16.
Thee box kept the same design and color.
rOtring catalog 1996

In the early 2000s, a new package was introduced. A more modern design, where you a slide the access door to access the 12 leads that are inside. The dual compartment was forgotten. Also the dual-labeling of the size was dropped in favor of 0.35 mm and 0.9 mm. This is the way rOtring codes the sizes even today.
rOtring catalog 2005
Another change happened in 2008 when rOtring added the Tikky name on the label. Also, the article number was changed. This makes me believe that the product itself suffered a change, or maybe it was just an integration in the Stanford article system.
rOtring catalog 2008

Friday, September 25, 2020

Koh-I-Noor 2mm pencil and lead, 6 color set

2 mm colored lead koh i noor
I wanted to try out some colored pencils for daily business. Mostly to make marks or annotations on documents in a more visible way compared to a regular black pencil. In the past I did not have a very good experience with mechanical pencil colored leads so I tried something else, 2 mm leads. I found the only 2 mm leads in color available locally are the Koh I Noor ones.
They came in a 6 pack that contains a black one, red, blue, brown, yellow and green. The cool thing about them is that Koh-I-Noor also sells a similar pack with 2 mm clutch pencils. The pencils come in the same colors as the leads. Pretty nice.
The leads are made in the Czech Republic and come in a red plastic box with a clear top that has a Koh I Noor logo. The top slides to reveal the leads inside. They are very secure inside but if you only have one clutch pencil and you want to switch leads often grabbing them from the pack is not too easy.
The price is good as with all the Koh I Noor products. I got them for 1.51 EURO or 1.84 USD.
The colors are ok, not very vibrant but not dull. The black is the one I do not like. It feels like a colored pencil instead of a regular lead, plus it could be a bit darker. For example, a Faber Castell 2 mm lead 3B is smoother and produces a darker line.

The brown, blue, green look good and can be used for marking stuff with no problems. The red is a bit dull and not very vibrant but it is ok. The yellow is no surprise here, it can only be used for highlighting, as it is too washed out to write with it.
My favorite colors are the green and blue, followed by the brown and then red.
An erase test showed that they are not too stubborn and can be erased without too many problems. I have put to the test the Rotring Tikky and the Faber Castell Dust Free 187121 erasers. The Faber Castell did a much better job.




Sunday, September 6, 2020

A Parker Jotter in the movie Oldboy

 In the intense thriller Oldboy (2003) the main character is imprisoned along with a stack of envelopes, papers, and a Parker Jotter pen.

A great instrument for writing, very classy and slick





But apparently, you can also use it as a makeshift tattoo gun. Take the refill out, heat it and ink away. I not going to comment about this...