Upcycled pencils

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Just a very short note. Staedtler has announced pencils made from “upcycled wood”. Upcycled wood is defined as “wood chips produced in the wood processing industry.”

The upcycled family includes the colour Noris 185 and 187, digital stylus pencils, and the graphite Staedtler Neon 180 and Noris 183.

These pencils (at least the 180 and 183) were previously known to use WOPEX. Perhaps this is a rebrand?

Tombow versus Mitsubishi

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Please allow me to call attention to the essay The Golden Age of Japanese Pencils, 1952-1967, published by St. Louis Art Supply.

I’ve not previously been aware of this art supply company. I learned of the essay via a post at the Reddit pencil forum.

The conclusions are very interesting to me. Are the Tombow Mono 100 and the Mitsubishi Hi-Uni the greatest pencils the world will ever see? (And I’ll mention that the Mono 100 is no longer made in Japan.) Very possibly. Super high quality OEM pencils such as those from Pentel were on the market only briefly. And as the article notes, we haven’t seen the “Hi-Hi-Uni”.

But let’s note something else – the pencil market is likely still growing at a global level, due to population growth and increased educational opportunities. There are $10 (even $20) woodcase pencils that can be bought today from Musgrave (USA) , Faber-Castell (Germany), and Caran d’Ache (Switzerland). These expensive pencils are more in the collectible/luxury segment, but why wouldn’t it be possible to try a new super-high quality pencil?

The Gmund Bauhaus Dessau paper cube

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Gmund is a quality paper maker that originated in 1829. Online searching and discussions with stationery enthusiasts suggest that today they mainly operate as a paper industry supplier. They have regularly received attention for providing the golden envelopes used at the Oscars.

Gmund also produces a few consumer products. Here is a video from Matthias at Bleistift regarding one of their notebooks:

Something else that made an appearance at Laywines here is Toronto is a Bauhaus associated paper cube. The cube is part of a larger series. This isn’t just a “tribute” – it is a product that was developed in conjunction with the official Bauhaus Dessau Foundation.

The paper cube has a front with a geometrical design that uses five quadrilaterals and one triangle. One of the colours appears twice.

Do you know more about this design? Please feel free to share!

The cube now sits on my desk, and I want to use these notes rather than sticky notes when it makes sense. You can find the official product page here.

The Carl Auböck egg paperweight

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“On the desk of the German architect and Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius sits a solid-brass egg.”

From Perfecting the Paperweight by Victoria Woodcock in the November 20, 2021 How To Spend It, the weekend magazine of the Financial Times.

This paperweight egg shared the desk with companion objects such as pre-Columbian artefacts given to Gropius by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The Financial Times says the desk was designed by Marcel Breuer, while Historic New England credits Gropius himself. The desk broke when shipped from Germany to the US.

The desk remains at Gropius House in Lincoln, Massachusetts. A clear photo doesn’t show an egg.


Click the image to go to the Historic New England site. (c) Historic New England

(Can you see a pencil?)

The original 1952 egg is now made by Auböck’s grandson, and available at London’s Sigmar for £170. I think that’s a pretty reasonable price for a famed design object of such provenance.


(c) Signum

The general Auböck catalogue is well worth browsing. Another stationery object – a giant paperclip – is also for sale at Mark+Fold.

Thank you to the Financial Times for illuminating this interesting stationery item.