Friday, February 2, 2018

Koh-I-Noor Versatil lead holder from 70s

koh i noor lead holder clutch 2mm lead
A short history on the subject:
-In 1946 the introduction of metal mechanic pencils Versatil
-In 1957 the formation of the export subsidiary company Bohemia Works

The pencil I have is a Bohemia Works Toison D'Or Versatil 5900 made by Koh I Noor. There is nowhere the Koh I Noor name on the pencil. That is because the branding for exported products was Bohemia Works.
It is a 2 mm clutch lead holder, produced in the early 1970's. The pencil has an all metal body, painted black and a lighter color detail at the top. It has a hexagonal shape, the clutch system is brass and has a self sharpening system in the cap (unscrew the cap and it has a 4 arm fork that sharpens the lead)
There where other models that featured a clip.
This pencil has seen a lot of action all these years. The writing on the side is gone, you can see where the writing was if you shine a light on the body. When it was new it would have an embossed gold writing. The black paint is coming off in some parts and the barrel metal is showing. The detailing at the top part is mostly gone showing the black paint beneath.

koh i noor lead holder clutch 2mm lead 70's branding
Koh I Noor Versatil 5900 70's design
The cool part is that even today you can buy the same Versatil pencil, in the same color you could get it 40 some years ago.

koh i noor lead holder brass mechanism versatil
mechanism of Koh-I-Noor Versatil 5900 from 70's
Inside the pen. It is a basic design. You have the body of the pencil which is metal. The mechanism that holds the lead (clutch) made out of brass. The mechanism is gravity aided meaning it holds the lead in putting tension on 3 arms. When you press the advance button the tension is released and the lead can advance. It is not an incremented advance system as in more known mechanical pencils, it just slides out. How much is up to you.
The last part is the cap of the advance system which has a trident with which you can sharpen the lead (now it is a bident :) as one of the arms is broken). Even after all these years and use the pencil works as is should. One of the design flaws of the lead holder, in my opinion, is the smooth paint finish which tends to slip from your hand after a longer writing session.

If you are in the market for a pencil with a lot of history this could be the one. You can buy vintage from eBay or new. Whatever pencil you will choose it will be a "Versatil" one.
Looking at what Koh I Noor has to offer I found a very beautiful pencil with an old-modern design, knurled grip, the Koh-I-Noor notebook 5600. I will make a review of it shortly.

koh i noor notebook lead holder pencil
Koh I Noor notebook lead holder
koh i noor versatil 5900 lead holder
Modern Koh I Noor Versatil



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