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Mark Sheet pencils from Japan

These pencils aren’t aimed at writing, yet they are all superb at the task. Sold to students facing multiple choice exams, they are specialty test pencils. These specific ones are made in Japan, and called “Mark Sheet” pencils. Of course, test taking isn’t the only possible use, and today we’ll take a look at them [...]

Pentel woodcase pencils

Though Pentel may be known for mechanical pencils and lead refills, their woodcase pencil products are equally outstanding. In our lineup today, we have: Pentel Mark Sheet Pencil Pentel Tuff Pencil Pentel Black Polymer 999 Copyist Pentel Black Polymer 999 Pentel Black Polymer 999? (999 alpha) The Pentel Mark Sheet pencil is Pentel’s entry in [...]

The curious arithmetic of mechanical pencil refills

Hmm, has anyone noticed this aspect of mechanical pencil refills? Pentel Ain refills (just to pick a particular brand) are all the same price. And all are 60mm in length. But they contain: 0.3mm – 20 pieces 0.4mm – 30 pieces 0.5mm – 40 pieces 0.7mm – 40 pieces 0.9mm – 36 pieces What gives? [...]

Very thin erasers

Here are a couple of amazingly thin erasers. The Tombow Mono zero is a 2.3mm diameter cyclindrical eraser, dispensed by clicking the cap. It really does seem like a mechanical pencil in both form and function. I thought this eraser was probably a borderline novelty, but it worked quite well over a period of days. [...]

Pentel Mark Sheet Pencil

We’ve seen special pencils aimed at optical and electro-mechanical mark recognition – the vintage IBM Electrographic, and the more recent Musgrave Test Scoring Pencil. Quite a few people seem to be interested in these pencils, so I’m pleased to be able to mention a superb modern example that I recently learned about – the Pentel [...]

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 [...]