Showing posts with label pencils. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pencils. Show all posts

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

Friday, June 12, 2020

Faber Castell color bar in local stationery shop

One of the local shops just got a makeover. It has more room for products and right in the center of it, there is a Color Bar from Faber Castell. I have to say it looks really cool.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Staedtler Mars Lumograph in the movie Click

Adam Sandler playing the role of an architect in the movie Click is using a Staedtler Mars Lumograph, one of the best looking pencils on the market.
The Mars Lumograph is available in blue and black. It comes in a very large spectrum of hardness from 10H to 12B.
I guess they could have added to the scene some Mars Matics technical drawing pen to make it more immersive.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

This is what it takes to be a big fan of pencils


An Australian couple chose to saround the house with a fence colored pencils fence. What a colorfull idea.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Pencil highlighter



I saw on the internet that Kaweco has a 5.6 mm highlighter lead, and I think it is just awesome. I like the idea of using a pencil highlighter, you do not get smudges, no bleed, and the pencil will not fade with time. But it is pretty hard to get the 5.6 mm leads, as they don't seem to be very popular. From the searches made almost the only place you can buy them is jetpens.com
They come either mixed, a yellow, a red and a green or a pack of 3 with the same color inside. At the moment of writing this post, the pack of 3 is $ 6.5 and a free shipping in USA for orders above $ 25
They look cool and vibrant but why not use a regular color lead instead of the "highlighter" ones?

I made a short test with the Koh I Noor 2 mm lead 6 color pack. All the colored leads are very good as a highlighter, as they are vibrant enough to be seen but not too intense that they obscure the writing beneath. The downside is the small diameter, and the fact the leads are not extra soft. Because of this, you will need a shading move of the pencil to highlight the row. So maybe a little extra work. I wonder how the 5.6 colored Koh I Noor leads work for this kind of stuff.
Bellow is the Kaweco highlighter (picture from jetpens.com) and to the right is the Koh I Noor regular color lead.

picture from jetpens.com

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Pencils in hotel rooms, Stabilo Schwan 306

Usually, hotels offer you a little notepad and ballpoint to write down things, but I was greeted in my short Hamburg visit by an HB Stabilo Schwan 306 pencil.

I found the markings on it curious, as I know the US marks the lead harness by numbers and HB is the #2 pencil. Well, this is a 2 1/2 pencil so a bit harder than a regular HB.
The finish of the pencil was made for this hotel room, it looks like woody and unfinished. Like a raw pencil. The same feeling the room left me, an old cabin in the woods, except it wasn't in the woods.
I do not know if it was a calculated decision to leave this particular pencil in the room or it was just a coincidence.
So, on the natural finish of the pencil, the brand name, and model number are written in a very dark paint.
The lines put down by the pencil look dark enough and smooth, so no complaints about the writing or the handling of the pencil.
I had to take the paper back to the lab (back home) to test the ease with which the lines are erased from the paper. And it is no problem, it erases well.
Also, there is no sharpening test, as I did not have my Opinel #8 with me.

All in all, it is an ok pencil, that has an interesting finish that goes well with the looks of a cabin in the woods.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Advertising with a pencil

Many companies use promo materials to raise the public's awareness about their company, brand, products etc. Many times with a cheap plastic ballpoint that has the name printed on the side. Why not be a bit different and use a pencil instead.
Koh-I-Noor has a catalog to present their advertising products. In the images, you can see a lot of known brands using Koh-I-Noor pencils for marketing purposes

The pencils come in a variety of forms, and sizes and are using the colors of the brands they represent.

I really like the idea of using something less plasticky for marketing, plus they do not look all the same.

A double treat for me, apart from the cool idea of having marketing material in form of a humble pencil, is that I work for one of the companies that is present in the Koh-I-Noor catalog.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Noris pencil in a digital world

On the 30th of March 1858, the first patent for a pencil with an eraser at the end was issued to Hymen Lipman
What is next? Well, the Staedtler Noris has a stylus ...

from Staedtler Catalogue 2017


of course, if you think that merging to items into one is the way to create a bad product you can stick to the Noris HB and get the new Noris Digital, launched in 2017

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Spring is here


I do not know how many countries have this tradition but here, it is a custom to offer to the ladies on the 1st of March a small gift in the form of a "martisor" and or snowdrops. In some regions, it is a custom for men to receive them. Anyway, it's meaning is the rebirth of nature the end of winter. It is the white and red string and usually, it comes attached to some kind of figurine, something that shows that spring is here, like a flower or something that brings luck like a horseshoe. And is a custom for women to wear them during the month of March or at least in the first days of March.

Of course, you can find different motifs, flowers, plants, good luck symbols, traditional symbols, birds, insects (usually ladybugs, I haven't seen a dung beetle martisor yet), and colored pencils. Wait .. what?


This is the first year I saw such kind of symbol but maybe it will start a trend. I think the magic pencil from Koh-I-Noor would be a much nicer spring symbol.



Monday, February 1, 2016

Sculpture in pencil lead

Modern art is not restricted to oil paintings or sculptured granite blocks. Now art is everywhere, train station, building walls, pavement, coffee art, sand painting, and why not in toilet rolls

Salavat Fidai is an "experimental" artist who among others does pencil sculpture, lead sculpture to be more precise.
A couple of images of his impressive work
lead sculpture pencillead sculpture pencil

For more, you can see Salavat Fidai work at www.salavatfidai.com, or on instagram

One question, can you use them for writing?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Stadtler Tradition pencil seen on screen



Seen on the screen comes back. Now with a pencil, Tradition 110 from Staedtler. According to Staedtler website, the Tradition is a High-quality pencil for writing, drawing, and sketching has an unbelievably break-resistant through special lead formulation and super-bonded lead. The wood is from certified, sustainably managed forests (I don't know what to say about this, we all heard about VW). Well, who knows let's give them credit until proven wrong.
The pencil comes in 12 degrees of hardness

Made in Germany.


In the movie The Numbers Station (2013) a bunch of Staedtler Tradition pencils can be spotted, apparently, grade B. The movie is poor - ok-ish but I'm not going to make further comments on the movie quality.
The main actors are John Cusack and Malin Akerman.
Note: I want to mention if by chance you see in the rest of the post the name Tom Cusack it's the same actor John, it's just I like to call him Tom :). He looks like a Tom for me.
Now that Tom is out of the way:

Right in the first scenes when the two are in the bunker receiving/sending numbers the pencils can be spotted.
the numbers station 2013 pencil staedtler
With very good eye sight and zoom you can actually see Tradition B written on the pencil in the middle.

the numbers station 2013 pencil staedtler
In this first two images, John Cusack is picking up the pencil from the bunch and plays with it.

the numbers station 2013 pencil staedtler
In the picture above Malin Akerman is holding the pen, taking notes
the numbers station 2013 pencil staedtler
Spot the Staedtler.
Apparently, it is also good for holding your hair, not only for writing. Who knew?!

As I said before the movie is, how it is, but I have learned that Staedtler Tradition is good for playing when bored, good for writing, and good for holding your hair (if you have long hair)
Also, the movie made me aware that a number station is a real thing, not a made up bunker for John/Tom Cusack and Malin Akerman.

According to Wikipedia:
"A numbers station is a type of shortwave radio station characterized by unusual broadcasts, reading out lists of numbers or incomprehensible coded messages. The voices are often created by speech synthesis and are transmitted in a wide variety of languages. The voices are usually female, although sometimes men's or children's voices are used. Some voices are synthesized and created by machines; however, some stations used to have live readers. Many numbers stations went off the air due to the end of the Cold War in 1989, but many still operate and some have even continued operations but changed schedules and operators."

How does a number station work?
A number station provides a way to communicate in plain sight, transmitting a series of characters or numbers over radio waves. Everyone can listen to the transmission but only those who have the decrypter can understand the message.
The people decrypting needs a one time pad which is provided in advance.
More about one-time pad -The Laws of Cryptography