Let’s navigate away from Lewisburg and head over to Mumbai.
The Hindustan Pencil Company was founded in 1958, and is now India’s largest pencil manufacturer. They state that they manufacture 5.6 million pencils per day! That would be over two billion per year. This would put them in the elite league of Faber-Castell and Staedtler.
Despite these enormous numbers, their pencils are unavailable in many regions of the world, including here in Canada. My thanks to hemmant for kindly sending me these pencils, and some other Indian pencils that we’ll soon see.
The pencils are red with black stripes, a black cap, and white cap ring. They ship unsharpened, and are marked:
HPL * Nataraj * 621 * HB * Bonded Lead
They sharpen easily enough in either desktop or handheld sharpeners.
What I first notice is the wood’s appearance. It appears to have the striations typical of jelutong or pulai, yet is also quite reddish. I’m curious if anyone knows what wood species is being used?
The lead seems quite strong – when I sharpen a pencil in the Carl Decade DE-100 using the acute setting – the point often breaks after ‘first contact’ with paper – but that didn’t happen with the Nataraj. The pencil seems average judged by smoothness or line richness factors.
The pencil box mentions the official price – 3 Rupees per pencil. That is $US0.06. Quite impressive.
The box also came with a sharpener and eraser. The sharpener boasts “with Japanese Technology”, and seems fine for a plastic sharpener. The eraser is a “Plasto 711”, and while creating a lot of crumbs, did a good job with this pencil on Rhodia paper.
Overall, the Hindustan Pencil Company seems to be doing a good job with this product.
Link: Official Product page.