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Another Steno Pencil – the Hardtmuth “Steno” 550

Hardtmuth Steno 550 pencil

In February, we looked at steno pencils from Staedtler and Faber-Castell.

Hardtmuth Steno 550 pencil

It turns out that there is at least one more steno pencil in the marketplace, the Hardtmuth “Steno” 550, made in Austria.

Hardtmuth Steno 550 pencil

With a smooth dark 2B lead, it is a contender, though the pencil appearance may not be everyone’s choice.

9 comments to Another Steno Pencil – the Hardtmuth “Steno” 550

  • Frank

    Also from Austria is the HemusMark Stenostift HB made by Brevillier-Urban (Jolly) (–3er-BK.html). Among the Faber 9008s and the Staedtler Stenofix 101 in Germany there’s the HETZEL 1623 Steno in HB and F(sic!); Hetzel is now an ACCO brand. In France I’ve seen a couple of times the BIC Gilbert used for short-hand, but I’m not sure if it’s made for this. By the way: Staedtler told me they use the same lead for the Stenofix and the Lumograph HB, but I have still the impression the Stenefix is a bit smoother.

  • Frank, thank you for this excellent information.


    Brevillier-Urban/Jolly pencils definitely haven’t yet made their way to Canada. I will keep an eye out for them.

    Hetzel I’ve never even heard of. ACCO also owns the Rexel/Derwent brand from the U.K., which is much more familiar.

  • I am not absolutely sure but as far as I know the Koh-I-Noor production in Austria has been taken over by Cretacolor in 1995.

  • Frank

    Hallo Gunther,
    it was in 1996 when the Koh-i-Noor Hardtmuth AG in Austria went bankrupt and was bought by Hans Hromatka / Cretacolor. Hans Hromatka is a serious pencil collector, his collection is about 20,000 pencils. In 1999 Hromatka / CRETACOLOR took over ÖKI (Österreichische Kuvert Industrie), the market leader for envelopes etc., and her affiliate SAX (Heinrich Sachs) which produces punchers, staplers and so on. All three companies are now based in Hirm/Burgenland in Austria. Gruß

  • Hello Frank, thanks for sharing your knowledge – I am again very impressed.
    Regarding SAX: I have a two SAX pencils that are almost identical to their Cretacolor variants, except for the brand name, so I assume that at least these pencils are actually made by Cretacolor. – Do you have some details about the “Austria” logo? Is it part of the Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth design or more a generic one?

  • Frank

    Hi Gunther,
    that’s quite possible with all the production facilities at the same place. Regarding the logo I don’t know exactly but would guess that it is not a part of the original Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth logo and a more generic one – on the Brevillier-Urban HemusMark Steno is printed the very same.

  • I have just learned that the “Austria” logo shown here is (in this case: was) a mark of quality, registered in 1949 and issued by Quality Austria.

  • [...] Mehr zu Steno-Bleistiften gibt es bei pencil talk unter “Steno pencils: pencils with a job” und “Another Steno Pencil – the Hardtmuth Steno 550″. [...]

  • there are other steno pencils also available

    and they are pretty cheap around here and they are not bad

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