Sunday, January 21, 2018

Rotring Tikky a short history

I am a long Rotring Tikky user and today I will share with you the beloved mechanical pencil.
I got my first Rotring mechanical pencil in middle school. If I am not mistaking it was a yellow second generation of Rotring Tikky. Unfortunately, I lost it sometime during high school. At some point, I had a red second generation Rotring Tikky but I can't remember it's faith. At the moment I have a black second generation Rotring Tikky 0.7 that I got in high school and used throughout the university, 2 Rotring Tikky's third generation one 0.5 and one 0.7 mm. One of my big regrets is that I do not have a Tikky Special first generation.
I only owned and used Rotring during the school years. The exception to this was my first mechanical pencil, a plastic no-name followed by a Bic. Both of them I had in the early years of school when I think my parents didn't trust me with a precision instrument :)
Both of my parents are engineers and both were using Rotring for many years as it was pretty much the standard in the industry. Why everyone was using them is pretty clear. They are affordable, of good quality, a precise instrument that will last a very long time, and they are readily available. They come in all sizes 0.35 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, and 1.0 mm. And also, I do not think that the market back then didn't have such a plethora of mechanical pencils to choose from.
At least here (Romania), if you will go into a  stationary shop it is almost certain they have Rotring Tikky mechanical pencils. In the last years, the Faber Castell has been a lot more aggressive and is starting to dominate the shelves of the stores. So maybe the new generations will grow with Faber Castell instead of the Tikky.
In the next lines, I will try sharing with you the information I have managed to gather about the Rotring Tikky mechanical pencils starting from the first generation up to the last.


The history behind the Rotring Tikky mechanical and the information about the models and their characteristics.

In 1979 the Rotring Tikky mechanical pencil debuts
In 1997 the second generation of Tikky hits the market
In 2008 the third generation of Tikky was available to the customers.

A nice graphical presentation of the Rotring history can be found on their site at the following link: http://www.rotring.com/en/heritage

Rotring Tikky I

The first generation of Rotring Tikky was produced in West Germany and in Germany after 1989. It featured a metal drafting fixed point a slim body with a waved grip section. The barrel was made out of plastic or metal and it was available in different colors. It had a sturdy clip which was made out of metal and on it was stamped "Rotring" and "W. Germany" until 1989 and with "Rotring" and "Germany" after. The cap was metallic and was hiding the eraser. Only present in the Tikky Special, the eraser also had a pin in it to unclog the pencil if the lead would jam in it. The next models do not have this feature anymore. The mechanism inside was made out of brass and could be taken out of the pencil.
Rotring came out with several models of the Tikky right at the beginning, and there were a few variants between labeling them. For example, not all Rotring Tikky first generation came with a red ring and others had the name rOtring written in red instead of the red ring. Some of the pencils featured an endcap that had on the tip of it standard color coding for the size of the lead. The barrel came in all sorts of colors, even crazy psychedelic paints.
With the first generation, Rotring seemed to use the size 0.3 mm and 0.9 mm instead of 0.35 mm and 1.0 mm nowadays.
Rotring introduced the Trio Pen which later became the Tikky 3 in 1. The first reference I found about the Trio pen was in a 1990 German product catalog but I think the model appeared sooner. Also alongside with the first Tikky mechanical pencil Rotring brought to the market the Tikky ballpoint.
The birth of one of the most beloved mechanical pencils took place 10 years before the launch of the Rotring 500/600 (1989) Series and 14 years before Rotring 800 (1993).
The Tikky I inspired Rotring to transfer the good features to the metal series 400 of mechanical pencils, pens, and fountain pens. This line was later marketed as Esprit.

The versions of the Tikky were:
Tikky Special
rotring T (sliding sleeve from 5 mm to 3.5 mm in early models, fixed sleeve later on)
rotring TS slide (half sliding sleeve - I think is the successor of the rotring T)
rotring Fineliner F or just rotring F (fixed 4 mm sleeve)
Tikky Automatic and rotring Automatic LS (auto advance of lead, LS stands for locking system)
Tikky Double Push (plastic and metallic versions - both these versions had a secondary push button on the barrel)
rotring S (plastic and metallic versions, 3 mm to 0 mm sliding sleeve)

The differences between the models:
Tikky Special - Plastic design with a fixed sleeve. It came in 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm. Some of the Tikky Special did not have a red ring while others had. There was a white version of the Tikky special which had all sizes available 0.3 mm 0.5 mm 0.7 mm 0.9 mm. The writing and the ring on these were color-coded to the lead size.
yellow for 0.3 mm
brown for 0.5 mm
blue for 0.7 mm
orange for 0.9 mm

rOtring T - "Mechanical pencil with fine lead T for technical drawings, before ink lining
Through the technical precision of the pencil rOtring T a long existing problem has been answered: making a neat drawing using a ruler and a template. The tubular lead guide retracts from 5 mm to 3.5 mm (the thickness of a ruler). rotring T is delivered in 3 lead sizes 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, each model comes with HB polymer lead. The pencils container comes with 6 leads for backup."
The main feature of the T model is the partially retractable sleeve which was I think a safety mechanism for when using a ruler and also it gave the possibility to have maybe more control. The end cap had a size color coding.
The 1.5 mm retracting sleeve feature was abandoned as in the Rotring 1990 catalog the model rOtring T is marketed as a fixed sleeve.

rOtring TS slide - in the Rotring 1990 catalog, the rOtring TS slide is marketed as a half sliding sleeve. This I think is the successor of the model T which at this point became a fixed sleeve.

rOtring F - "Mechanical pencil with fine lead F for writing and sketching.
This pencil is equipped with a rigid tubular lead guide with a length of 4 mm which avoids lead brakes and offers a precision execution when using a ruler. rotring F is equipped with polymer lead size 0.5 mm HB. The pencils container comes with 3 leads for backup."
So the F model was available only in 0.5 mm.

Tikky Automatic LS - Metall mechanical pencil with fully automatic lead feed, comes in 0.5 mm. The lead automatically advances during use while the "LS" locking system prevents undesirable lead feed (when carrying in a pocket for example)

Tikky Automatic - Plastic version of the previous model, with fully automatic lead feed, comes in 0.5 mm. Does not feature the locking system. This model of the rOtring Tikky  was first introduced in the 1988 Catalog

Tikky Double Push - Comes in a plastic and a metal version. It features a fixed sleeve protector and fully retractable feed mechanism. The main feature is a secondary side button to advance the lead. The metallic version of the double push sometime later changed series and became the Rotring 400 Esprit. Later the 400 was discarded and the line name remained Esprit. Rotring offered in the Esprit range fountain pen, ballpoint, mechanical pencil. The Esprit range offered a duo-pen (blue ballpoint and a 0.5 mechanical pencil in one body). There was a mini rotring Esprit line as well that included the mechanical pencil and the ballpoint. The Esprit mechanical pencil also came with a "telescopic" mechanism (available for the mini and the full version length)
The pencil was only available in 0.5 and 0.7 mm lead.

rOtring S - "Mechanical pencil with fine lead S for writing and neat sketching.
The tubular lead guide retracts with 3 mm in sync with the use of the lead. This way an optimal efficiency of the lead as well as a maximum safety against lead snaps. rotring S is equipped with polymer lead 0.5 mm, hardness HB. The pencil's container comes with 6 leads for backup."
So the S model features a 3 mm sliding sleeve. The body of the pencil comes in plastic or metal. The end cap had a size color coding.
The yellowish color is "safari green"

(click on the images to enlarge)
rotring Tikky
rOtring T / rOtring F / rOtring S (1980) Rotring product catalog (Romania)

rotring TS slide, rotring T, 1990 catalog

Rotring 1990 catalog

Tikky metallic, double push and automatic, catalog 1990

Tikky Special catalog 1990

Trio Pen (precursor of Tikky 3 in 1)

Automatic & Double Push leaflet rOtring Catalogue 1990

rOtring leads

rotring tikky automatic 1988
Tikky Automatic debut in 1988 Rotring Catalog




rotring Tikky 1
rOtring T
rotring 1 tikky f
rOtring Fineliner F
rOtring clip W.Germany before 89
Tikky Special
Tikky Special without red ring

 Metallic Double Push Tikky

rOtring F Fineliner

Mechanical pencil museum Rotring 400 Esprit)

Mechanical pencil museum Rotring 400 Esprit)

Mechanical pencil museum Rotring 400 Esprit)
rOtring Special and box
rOtring TS slide

rOtring T brass mechanism
 
Tikky Special multiple colors

 Tikky Automatic

 rOtring Special without red ring

Metallic Double Push Tikky

 

 

Rotring Tikky II

The Second Tikky suffered a few changes. First, it gained a little bit of weight. It became a little bit fatter. Second, the clip style changed. It is a less secure one, but esthetically looks nice. The clip is not stamped with anything which is a shame. Where the clip meets the barrel it is cast in plastic with a very small font "Made in Germany". The rest of the writing on the pencil is paint. The barrel is plastic. The Tikky II weighs 10 grams.

The Rotring Tikky II came in 2 variants
rOtring Tikky II - which had markings on the pencil "rOtring Tikky II 0.5" or  "rOtring T 0.5". This is the most common version of the Tikky 2. It came in a variety of colors including metallic and transparent barrels.
The metallic colors were part of the INLINE series and offered options like pearl blue, pearl violet, pearl red, pearl yellow.
The branding rOtring T was present only on the burgundy version of the Tikky II and included ISO color coding. The rOtring Tikky II came with and without color coding on the barrel.

rOtring Tikky SC - features a retractable tip and a rubberized grip. This one is less common and less accessible. The SC stands for Super Comfort.

(click on the images to enlarge)








rOtring T branding

rOtring Tikky SC
rOtring Tikky SC


Made in Germany marking

rOtring Tikky II 4C Tone 2007 Back to school Catalog

rOtring Catalog 2004 Pens and Pencils, IN LINE pearl colors (metallic)





Rotring Tikky III

The third generation named just Rotring Tikky is a reincarnation of the Tikky line after Rotring was bought by Standford. The pencil is also sold under the name "Papermate Tikky by Rotring" or just "Papermate Precision" version which does lack the traditional red ring.
The third generation of Tikky debut in 2008 and is produced in China while the previous two were made in Germany. The biggest difference to the previous version is a partial rubberized grip (although the rOtring Tikky II SC featured a rubber grip, it had a different form), and the end of the barrel is triangular, making it less likely to roll off the table. The barrel is made out of ABS and the front cap is made out of stainless steel which has a constant slope as opposed to previous versions which had a step. The quality of this part I think is inferior compared to the quality found on Tikky II.
The clip style changed and now offers a look closer to the original Tikky clip, and it has stamped the rOtring name on it. The writing on the barrel changed to simply "rOtring Tikky 0.5", instead of numbering the generation with III. The cap has a hole at the top as a safety feature for children. It weighs 12 grams, 2 grams more than the second version.
Currently, the Rotring Tikky is offered in 23 colors, the latest colors included in the range are neon. Only the black and the burgundy models come with size color coding on the barrel and come in all lead sizes from 0.35 mm to 1.0 mm. They are marketed as Tikky professional mechanical pencils.
The classic Rotring colors like blue standard, white standard, yellow standard, red standard, black (version without the color coding) come in 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, and 1.0 mm while the rest of the bunch come only in 0.5 or 0.7 mm.

(click on the images to enlarge)

rotring 2017 colors
2017 new colors

rotring 2017 colors
2017 new colors

rotring 4c colors
2013 4C colors

rotring tikky 2015 colors
2015 new colors

rotring neon
2017 neon colors

rotring tikky
Tikky professionals


Papermate Tikky by rOtring

Papermate precision







Updates:
25/3/2018 - Tikky Automatic debut in 1998 (pic), 
more information on Tikky Double Push metallic which became Rotring 400 Esprit, and then just Esprit (pictures)
Pictures of the pearl (metallic) Tikky II In Line added
9/10/2018 - Small updates, no extra information about Tikky line added
7/03/2019 - Credits added
30/04/2019 - Additional information about Tikky I, and Esprit


Resources, extra information
Rotring catalogs
Rotring website
Pictures from sales site's like eBay and others alike
Particle Navigator
Mechanical Pencil Museum
Golyostoll (in Hungarian - if you need help google translate)
Pretty Splendid (beautiful Rotring Tikky 1 & 2 collection)
Kelvin Pang

A very nice history about Rotring products can be found at Unofficial Rotring

Contributions to the information presented are welcomed.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Erasers: Faber Castell vs Rotring vs Factis & Pelikan

A lot of people praise the performance of the Faber Castell erasers. The stores also seem to like the Faber Castell brand. So I have put them to the test two Faber Castell against the Rotring Tikky and some other brands Factis and Pelikan.
In the green corner is Faber Castell PVC Free and the 187121 Dust free. In the red corner is an old Rotring Tikky 20. In the benchmark corner is Pelikan and Factis 36R.
erasers test faber castell rotring tikky factis pelikan

I have put them against Rotring HB lead, cheap lead 2B which is more prone to smearing and a regular HB pencil.
The performance is quite similar between all of them. The Rotring lead was erased well by all of the erasers in the group. But it was more difficult to erase the cheap 2B lead and even harder to erase the HB pencil.
The best performance all around was delivered by .. all
erasers test faber castell rotring tikky factis pelikan

On longer erasing sessions Pelican was the worst, Factis did a good job but creates a lot of dust. Rotring compared to Faber Castell is made from a harder material, it requires some extra passes but you don't risk making creases on the paper. The Faber Castell Pvc Free is the softest and grips the paper more. The Faber Castell Dust Free is more balanced.
The FC Dust Free does what it says, it does not leave dust on the paper, and I understand why it is considered one of the best erasers. Second place goes to the Rotring which produces larger dust crumbles that are not sticky, they can be cleaned with ease from the paper. The Pvc Free is a little bit better than Pelikan. Factis creates the most dust.
erasers test faber castell rotring tikky factis pelikan
erasers dust test

You can't go wrong with any of the erasers, but I would choose the Faber Castell Dust Free or the Rotring Tikky

After taking into account the ease of erasing, the dust left behind and the chance of making creases in the paper this is my pick.

eraser test rotring faber castell

* mention, Rotring Tikky almost came as equal for the first place if it had performed a hair better on the erase test. Also it needs to be mentioned that Rotring is around 10 years old eraser. This might decrease the erasing performance.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Zebra in the room

We have to address the Zebra in the room. Even though the orc dressed as a police officer is more eye-catching.
Orcs and zebras? The movie Bright has both of them and it has Will Smith (Scott Ward the police officer)
In a scene where he is taking in a deranged person, he is filling the log with what looks like a Zebra F301.
zebra ballpoint pen used in movie bright
Nice smooth metallic finish, with a black rubber knurled grip section. The clip is connecting to a black plastic like part that goes over the barrel and the end of the push mechanism looks to be made from the same black material.

A very good choice for a work pen. It is stainless steel, has a knurled grip, and has a fantastic price.
All this beauty for just $ 2 -3
So it makes sense, as orcs cannot be trusted. Why carry the finer Zebra 701 which cost double?

In my area, it is very hard to find Zebra products, and it is a shame. For example, the 701 mechanical pencil is around 6.5 $. I think you get a good value pencil for that money.
Other mechanical pencils made from stainless steel from more known brands cost more than the Zebra. For example the Pilot Graphgear 1000 (around 9 $) or the Staedtler 925 (approx 10 $)
I am wondering what watch does the orc ware. Is it a Luminox, or Maraton or something else?

Friday, December 15, 2017

Old stationery at Wilanow Palace

I was pleasantly surprised by a visit to museum Wilanow in Warsaw, Poland. The Wilanow Museum had a display section for old writing instruments and papers. Quill, diverse pouders for making colors, and even an old printing press.
I liked the fact that a curator was working on reconditioning old prints and was showing the visitators how a book would have been printed. Quite laborious  work. Manufacturing the letters, arranging them, and printing. 
The paper needs to be soaked in water before it gets pressed, to be more malleable. After using the press the operator needs to check if all the letters are uniformly printed, and if not he remedies the problem. And this is just one page. But it is still a lot faster than writing by hand.

quill old paper colors museum

museum, old wirtings, books, papers





Friday, December 1, 2017

Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Red ink


I got enthusiastic about ink colors and I bought Pelikan 4001 brilliant red. It is not a color that I use regular, but I felt it would be cool for occasional writing and mixing it with other inks from Pelikan.
The conclusion is that I should have read the reviews first.
Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Red Ink is a big no no. The ink has many flaws regarding color, mixing, deposits in the inkwell etc.

pelikan 4001 brilliant red ink
You can make it look a lot better by mixing it, but it is not mixing well and clogs the pen.
You can see in the bottle a white deposit on the bottom of the reservoir. If you shake it, the deposit mixes, but only for a short time.
pelikan 4001 brilliant red ink
For a company that has so much tradition, it is a very big disappointment. Why would you tolerate putting on the market such a bad product?
To show how bad things are, if you look on the internet for Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Red you will find pictures and videos where the ink is orange. Looks nothing like the one I got.
Definitely not worth buying!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thor using bic 4 colours


Even gods need a pen from time to time, and when they need they go for a Bic 4 colours.
Versatile writing instrument. What can i say, he is a practical god.

Is the Bic mightier than the hammer?
The Bic 4 colors ball point pen appeared in Thor Ragnarok when Thor is explaining the Multiverses.

thor writing with bic 4 color pen

thor writing with bic 4 color pen ragnarok

thor writing with bic 4 color pen


Related post:
Bic Matic used by Jesse Eisenberg in the movie American Ultra

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Rotring tikky eraser

Today I was surprised when I found in a stationary store a rotring eraser. I don't know why but lately it is very difficult to find rotring erasers. They seem to have been replaced by the Faber Castell, Stabilo, Pelican, Factis, Stadler and other less known brands. But what is better suited to accompany a mechanical Rotring Tikky pencil?
rotring eraser and mechanical pencil tikky


Even though not the best eraser it does a very good job. One downside compared to the more praised Faber Castell 18 71 20, the Rotring is not dust free. It makes more crumbles.
But like the Tikky it is affordable, good quality and long lasting. It got me through College and it's still going strong.
The Tikky comes in three sizes, 20 being the biggest, then 30 and 40.
What has happened to it in the meantime? I guess it got a makeover.

rotring eraser tikky 20 30 40 white

It used to be an all white eraser with white paper cover. The branding and the name was hot red symbol for Rotring and the fine print on the side in black
In the meantime and seems the Rotring changed though color of the covering. It is now black, only the Rotring symbol remains red while the rest of the writing is white.
new rotring tikky eraser german

I do not know if this is an improvement, I really liked the simplicity of the previous design very Google ish for a lack of a better word. I mean it is simple and straightforward.
On the other side, I can see a benefit from the black cover. I have my old eraser since college and in the meantime the white it is not that white, it's kind of dirty yellowish. So the dark cover might add a plus in the long term.

On the Rotring site, the photos of the eraser still feature the white hood. But digging deeper and looking through Rotring catalogs the change was made around 2015.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Tianhao mechanical pencil

tinhao 0216 chinese mechanical pencil

At the last visit at the local supermarket, I saw this mechanical pencil somewhat copying the design of the Pentel Graphgear 500, that came along with a pack of 20 2B leads, all for 0.50 $. If interested you can see some more look-alikes in the post Copy cats.

My thoughts were, I can not go wrong with the package, if the mechanical pencil is crap, at least I get an almost free pack of leads.

The design of the mechanical pencil is interesting, I would call it nice. I like the fact that the grip is a separate piece of plastic with a silver color while the barrel is black.

The mechanical pencil looks ok with the condition you look from a distance. At a closer glance, you see the pencil has a bend in the shaft. The fixed sleeve is a little larger than the diameter of the lead so there is play in the lead, and this causes the lead to break a lot. Also, the lead advances too much at every push. In combination with the soft, easy to break leads it came with it is a disaster to write.
But I found later why the sleeve is so larger, maybe ...
The led it came with branded as microled even though is 0.5 mm it is larger, or at least some of the mines are. I tested various leads in the post "Mechanical pencil lead", including the one that came with this pencil to see if is there a real difference in quality between known brands that have decent quality products and cheap no name leads. Biiiig mistake. I used a Rotring Tikky and first the lead broke. Not a tragedy but it got stuck in the sleeve and I could not get it out. It was stuck like glue in. I had to use a needle and pliers to push the led out. After a bit of struggle, it came out with a plastic bit that is inside the sleeve of the Rotring Tikky which has the role to keep the lead tight with no wobble when you write.
It does not come with an eraser, but this is not a problem for me as I do not like to use the erasers that come with my pencils. Not because they are not capable, but because I do not like the look after use. I always have an eraser block with me.
The clip rotates around the barrel and does not inspire confidence. But I think this is the greatest feature of the mechanical pencil. At least you can have the hope of losing it sooner rather than later. But probably this will not happen as the clip is not that problematic.

In conclusion, the mechanical pencil is bad and it's not usable.


chinese mechanical pencil tinhao

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Copy cats

I never thought that I will see pencil rip offs but it seems that there are quite a lot on the market.
I am trying to understand this market. What is the reason, well you get the same look a lower price. There are expensive products for which it makes sense to me to make a copy but why would you copy the design of a 3 - 4$ product? Could it be that they are just lazy?

Here are a few of the culprits

Rotring Tikky III vs Daco:


Between the two the differences are minor. The lack of the red ring and a grip that is more rhomboid shaped is all the visual difference Daco made to the visual aspect of the Rotring Tikky III


Rotring 600 vs Daco Metalix:

and again Rotring vs Daco, red vs black.



Pentel P205 vs Forpus Aztec vs Bic Criterium

or maybe Bic Criterium, ish. The cap is missing, Bic uses an eraser that looks similar to the Faber Castell 1345, so this is a mixed cat.


Pilot H327 vs Ico



With shame, I have to say this one I actually own. This 0.5 $ mechanical pencil made me think about this post.

If you have other copy cats in mind let me know in the comments.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

"Paul" sketch with Pentel Graphgear 500

pentel graphgear 500 in movie Paul

A new mechanical pencil spot in the movie "Paul". An older movie with Simon Peg where Graeme Willy (played by Simon) is trying to help the alien with the name Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) to escape from earth.
While in the RV, Willy is drawing a sketch of Paul, using a mechanical pencil.
Even though the image is not very clear I think it is safe to say that Willy is using a Pentel Graphgear 500


Not very clear but if you zoom enough you see that the cap and clip are metal while the barrel is not. Also at very close inspection the clip attaches to the barrel leaving a small gap in the back

The tip is "technical" with long sleeve and a knurled grip

This last picture is where you can see the entire pencil. Again with high magnification, it is more clear that the mechanical pencil used by Simon Pegg is a Pentel.
It seems that Pentel's are pretty used in movies (see the Doctor Who seen on screen post)