The Mongol is one of those classic pencils that conjures up fond memories for many.
While often thought to be no longer made, a post at the excellent Timberlines blog shed much light on branding in the global pencil industry, and the fact that these pencils are still alive and kicking on two continents!
A second event happened – online retailer PencilThings started carrying the Amspec version, making the Mongol available to those of us who miss the original, and those of us who missed the original!
About the pencils – both new and old are a goldish yellow with black stamping. As well, they both have markings pressure-pressed (no paint used) on their cases.
The Mongol’s ferrule – two tone with a middle brass coloured ring – is considered unique and interesting. The new Mongol is certainly very shiny. The original not so much. After decades in the box, this is understandable. It looks like the original ferrule might be constructed out of two pieces of metal, but I’m not going to break it apart to find the truth.
The pencils have these markings:
Obverse: [Woodclinched Complastic Lead] MONGOL * Eberhard Faber U.S.A. 482 – No. 2 –
Obverse: [Woodclinched made in Phil.] EF Mongol 482 2 K6
The square braces indicate stamped text, with no paint used. I appreciated the restraint in not covering more edges with text.
The new Mongol has a quite bright pink/red eraser – the brightest I’ve seen outside of novelty pencils. It actually works quite well, which surprised me. The eraser on the original is dried up, and wouldn’t erase anything.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when sharpening the old Mongol, but the results were pleasing. The wood remained pliable after all these years, and there was no problem at all sharpening the pencil. I immediately put it to paper, and thought “Wow, it’s true, they did make them better in the old days.” The lead is rich and smooth. Though a “No. 2”, it’s more like a 2B by modern standards.
The Amspec Mongol also sharpens easily. It’s not at all a bad pencil – in fact it’s rather nice. But having just used the excellent vintage version, this newer model is markedly more scratchy and rough on paper. Perhaps related to the smoothness, the vintage pencil seems just a shade darker.
Verdict: The original based on superior lead quality.