The Underrated and Humble Pencil

George, a reader of Dave’s Mechanical Pencil blog and of Bleistift, has contacted me this morning and told me about an article Tim Harford wrote about the pencil. Not much later my wife contacted me about the same article. The article is part of the “50 Things That Made the Modern Economy” series.

In 2017 I was hoping that the pencil gets voted to be the “51st thing”. My blog post Vote for Pencil! might have added a few to the pencil, but in the end “credit cards” won.

An image of a humble pencil from an old blog post – to make this one less boring

Luckily Tim Harford, who made several ‘appearances’ on this blog in the past, has finally had a closer look at the pencil.

You can read his article Have we all underrated the humble pencil? on the BBC web site.

Just a few weeks ago I finished his book “Messy” (around $9 or in the UK around £7). Fascinating reading, like his other works.

His podcast More or Less: Behind the Stats is available for free.


Chung Hwa in the News 1

Today’s edition of China Daily has a few very nice photos taken in Shanghai’s Chung Hwa factory.

Image © IC / China Daily

You can see all of the photos at

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201906/10/WS5cfdcd8ea310176577230489_1.html


You might also like the following blog posts about Chung Hwa

2012: Chung Hwa 6151
2012: Chung Hwa 6903
2019: Ordering Food? There’s a Pencil for that…

The image in this blog post has been taken from the China Daily web site. I believe that the use of the images shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.


Titanium (again) 1

For a while now I’ve been a fan of Nitecore torches. Over the years I bought a few of their torches and one of them is part of my EDC.

My non-stationery EDC includes a Nitecore torch

What does this have to do with pencils? Wait for it. It’s coming now.

On a recent trip I took two of their torches with me, including one with a LiIon battery. The battery, also from their brand, and charged with a charger from their brand died from one day to the next. As it was only a few months old I tried contacting Nitecore.com. As they haven’t replied yet I was just about to try contacting Nitecore.co.uk and when visiting their web site I was reminded of their range of pens.

Since this spring their pen range also includes the Titanium pencil NTP40, which is using a pencil mechanism from Schmidt. A popular choice for the mechanism. The Monami 153 has the same ‘inside’. I also have a Tom Dixon brass pencil that is based on the Schmidt and you can find it in Kickstarter projects.

More about the Monami 153 in the video above.

The Nitecore certainly looks the part, but comes with a price tag of about $120 / £100. It would be great to try this pencil out one day. The Schmidt mechanism is very good and the NTP40 has good looks, too.

Image © Nitecore

If you like Titanium you might like this blog post from 2016.

The image in this blog post has been taken from the Nitecore web site. I believe that the use of the images shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.


Ordering Food? There’s a Pencil for that…

The Chung Hwa Drawing Pencil 101 is still the pencil of choice in Shanghainese Dim Sum Restaurants.

In the nicer dim sum places, like here in a branch of Sue Hsiao Liu, they are of course also nicely sharpened.

If you wonder where they come from or how many a restaurant would keep: here’s this branch’s ‘secret’ stash of sharpened Chung Hwas, ready for the customers.


If you want to read more about Chung Hwa pencils – here’s a selection of related blog posts form around the web.

The 101:

Other Chung Hwa Pencils: