Musgrave Test Scoring 100 pencil

Musgrave Test Scoring 100 pencil

We looked at the famous IBM Electrographic pencil a few months ago.

Other pencils whose marks will be read by machine scanners are still made today.

I am happy to be able to present the Musgrave Test Scoring 100 pencil made by the Musgrave Pencil Co. of Shelbyville, Tennessee.

Musgrave Test Scoring 100 pencil

While the finish of the Musgrave HB is delightful and superior, and the Unigraph 1200 is okay if not nice, the Test Scoring 100 pencil’s finish seems very thin and cheap. The pencil’s varnish is silver with black lettering, with a small nod to the pencil’s function – some checkboxes, one filled in.

The pencil’s shape is like the HB’s – a sharp hexagon, with little rounding.

The pencil sharpens easily, revealing that nice cedar grain.

Musgrave Test Scoring 100 pencil

The lead is less crumbly than that of the HB, though nowhere near as dark and rich. For those who would use it as a writing pencil, it does seem rough and scratchy compared to the HB. Presumably the pencil’s main value is in the readability of the marks.

Overall, the pencil is disappointment.

I’m not sure where (or even if) these pencils are sold at retail. Musgrave’s products are very hard to find, and the company does not exactly welcome enquiries, even commercial ones, in my personal experience. I bought a couple dozen of the Test Scoring 100 from pencilthings.com, before that company halted their international sales.

Dixon Ticonderoga Laddie and Beginners pencils

Dixon Ticonderoga Laddie and Beginners pencils

Here are a couple of oversize pencils from Dixon – the Laddie and Beginners.

The Beginners in particular seems to make people laugh when they see it. There is definitely something amusing about it. It looks just like a regular Ticonderoga, except that it is round and almost twice the diameter. The Laddie is somewhere between the regular and Beginners pencils.

Where there is a Laddie, there is often a Lassie, but I couldn’t find that brand offered.

Dixon Ticonderoga Laddie and Beginners pencils

The Beginners box says, “The Perfect Oversized Beginner Pencil”, while the Laddie claims to be “The Perfect Intermediate Beginner Pencil.”

The boxes also have a faux seal stating “Teacher Preferred”.

A ring with smaller text states, “Tradition & Quality Since 1795.”

Not in pencils of course – Dixon was making stove polish and crucibles back than. This mention of the company’s year of origin strikes me as just a bit curious.

Dixon Ticonderoga Laddie and Beginners pencils

The boxes indicate the pencils are made in Mexico.

They sharpen easily, but the lead seems not to match that of modern Ticonderogas, and is somewhat scratchier in my testing. That’s too bad, as these pencils won’t be offering the best experience for the children who use them.

Munhwa Deojon hi-mic pencil

Munhwa Deojon hi-mic pencil

Nearing the end of an ongoing series on the pencils of Korea, today we’ll look at the Munhwa Deojon hi-mic pencil.

Along with Dong-A and Hankook Sharp, Munhwa is an established Korean pencil manufacturer.

Munhwa Deojon hi-mic pencil

A box of twelve pencils has an unusual silver and purple design, with a classical musical instrument used as a symbol. A five-stringed harp?

The back of the box says, “Micro crystalline lead made by Munhwa in Korea.”

The pencils themselves are a mix of green and brown, with gold lettering, and purple and black cap.

The pencils read:

Obverse: Munhwa Deojon hi-mic HB

Reverse: Micro Crystalline Lead [Further text in Korean]

Sorry, I’m not able to offer a translation of the Korean text.

The pencils are also stamped “0708 Marco China”. Hmm, it suggests the pencils are made in China, with Korean lead cores.

Munhwa Deojon hi-mic pencil

And what lead cores they are. The Deojon makes a very smooth, rich, dark line – the nicest we’ve seen from a Korean pencil, and very high quality by general standards.

Definitely worth trying if you come across them!

Lyra Super Ferby Duo red and blue pencil – and more

Lyra Super Ferby Duo pencil

Here is the first triangular format red and blue pencil I’ve seen.

Lyra Super Ferby Duo pencil

Oversize, with a 6.25mm diameter lead, this pencil is part of the Lyra Super Ferby Duo lineup of double-ended two colour pencils.

Lyra Super Ferby Duo pencil

Lyra makes a very wide range of products, but like everything else in their “Ferby” brand, these pencils are first rate. Though aimed at young people, the quality of the product gives the Ferbys a much wider appeal.

Lyra Super Ferby Duo pencil

Take a look at the black and white pencil – everyone who has seen it finds this pencil quite unique and compelling.

Lyra Super Ferby Duo pencil

Very nice.

Pentel Black Polymer 999? (999 alpha) pencil

Pentel Black Polymer 999? (999 alpha) pencil

In our previous review of top Japanese pencils, it was lamented that the Pentel Black Polymer 999? was unavailable. We did review, and have previously looked at, the second tier 999. “Second tier”? The 999 is without doubt one of the finest pencils ever made, so we’ve been extremely curious about what Pentel considers to be even better!

There are now a few vendors that sell Japanese pencils internationally. Despite numerous enquiries over a period of years, no vendor we’ve contacted has been able to obtain this pencil. The only online evidence that this pencil ever existed seems to be a few small photos and statements here and there. With thanks to the resourcefulness of isu of the uncomfortable chair, it is now possible to finally examine this pencil.

Pentel Black Polymer 999? (999 alpha) pencil

In grade ‘H’, two pencils were obtained. Here we invoke the ‘to have and to hold’ philosophy – keep one ‘as is’, and use, enjoy, test, write, with the other.

Pentel does not have their own woodcase pencil production facilities – these magnificent creations are apparently all subcontracted. Well, Pentel must be a first rate contract manager, because their products have turned out very well.

The 999? is a glossy black pencil with silver lettering and accents. The varnish quality is excellent.

Following previously introduced nomenclature –

The obverse reads:

Pentel Black Polymer 999? H

And the reverse:

supreme quality for drawing lines of high density CB200 JAPAN H

The pencil cap itself seems highly curious – possibly some sort of plastic or resin.

“Supreme quality” is a major boast, but if any company could deliver, it would presumably be Pentel, known for many lead and mechanical pencil achievements.

It being a pencil that likely exists in limited numbers, one was carefully sharpened in the “regular” slot of a Tombow SM-200WN sharpener.

It sharpened to a very fine point – which after several days of occasional use – has not yet broken.

‘H’ leads are outside our usual frame of reference – we know they are useful for many drafting and drawing purposes, but are typically harder than we would prefer for general writing/sketching.

To establish a context, two Staedtler Mars Lumograph 100 pencils in H were also tested – one new (silver lettering, bar code), and one perhaps five to ten years old, with white lettering and no bar code.

Pentel Black Polymer 999? (999 alpha) pencil

The two Staedtler pencils did not seem the same – the older one appeared to leave a fainter line.

Compared to either Staedtler pencil, the Pentel seemed to leave a richer, darker line, and to be extremely sturdy – combining a fine sharpening capability with great non-eroding durability . If ‘H’ pencils generally came like this, they would be loved by many.

Pentel Black Polymer 999? (999 alpha) pencil

Drafting-only pencils are somewhat out of our element, but nothing observed indicates that the 999? isn’t indeed of ‘supreme quality’.

Tombow 2010 pencil

Tombow 2010 pencil

The 2010 is a vintage Tombow pencil. I was lucky enough to be be able to purchase a used box a few years ago, though the box has some tears, and isn’t full.

The writing is entirely in Japanese, and beyond my comprehension. The Tombow dragonfly graphic is wonderful, rendered with great detail.

Tombow 2010 pencil

The pencils themselves are marked in silver on green:

H.O.P. “Tombow” Pencil [logo] HB = 2010 D

If anyone can shed light on the meaning of the “H.O.P.” or circled “D”, please do.

Tombow 2010 pencil

After sharpening, the pencils seem somewhat scratchy and sub-par – not like the first-rate Tombow pencils of today.

Tombow 2010 pencil