Television! (The Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil)

The Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil

Well, I now have a Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil, as well as three other members of the elite red and blue pencil cadre.

The pencils are the Television 649, made by Conté in France, the RotBlauStift 162 00 from Cretacolor, made in Austria, a Koh-I-Noor 3423, origin unstated, and a Castell 873 Color by Faber-Castell, made in Germany.

The RotBlauStift is a regular sized hexagonal pencil, while the other three are oversized hexagonal pencils.

The Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil

A few notes:

– Faber-Castell is definitely the rebel here, eschewing the standard red and blue for their signature forest green. I wish they hadn’t done this. There are occasions when respecting a tradition should trump branding concerns.

– The Koh-I-Noor has exceptionally utilitarian markings, with the name imprinted via something akin to a dot matrix printer.

– The Television’s wood has the same sort of look as the Grip 2001 pencil – jelutong or pulai.

The Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil

As with our previously examined red and blue pencils, there is a range of colours – the Cretaclor is light in both red and blue, the Koh-I-Noor bright and rich in both, and the others somewhere in between.

Here are trial results with the four new pencils:

The Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil

Let’s summarize the main features of the red and blue pencils that we have looked at so far:

Manufacturer Model Shape Oversize Core
Conté Television 649 Hexagonal Yes 4mm
Cretacolor RotBlauStift 162 00 Hexagonal No 2mm
Faber-Castell Castell 873 Color Hexagonal Yes 4mm
Koh-I-Noor 3423 Hexagonal Yes 4mm
Koh-I-Noor Bürofarbstift 62 Hexagonal No 2mm
Musgrave Hermitage Thin 525 Hexagonal No 2mm
Musgrave Harvest Thick 725 Round No 4mm
Prismacolor Verithin 748 Round No 2mm
Schwan-Stabilo Stabilo 8742 Hexagonal No 2mm

These traditional pencils associated with teaching and accounting still have a strong resonance. While the keyboard has supplanted pens and pencils in many areas, it is fascinating that this sub-specialty of the woodcase pencil still continues. All of these pencils shown are in active production by their manufacturers.

The Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil

Further reading:

Red and Blue pencils (February, 2008)

Red and Blue pencils II (March, 2008)

This page at, which has documentary quality photographs of several red and blue pencils, plus a list of known red and blue pencils in production.

18 Replies to “Television! (The Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil)”

  1. I’d be happy to forward one of the Tombow VP’s for your review if you’d like to send contact info. I’m enjoying the broad spectrum review of these unusual pencils. Thanks.

  2. The Faber-Castell green is just too funny in this pencil.

    I use this type of pencil to make notes in books that I’m going to review. I really like the Musgrave thin. The only other ones I have are Prismacolor.

  3. Thank you all for the comments.

    Harry and Frank, I appreciate the pencil offers, but I fear that shipping a single pencil internationally would be too much trouble. I do appreciate it – it is a very nice offer.

    And I suspect Gunther will soon be updating his excellent list!

  4. Thank you for the review, the great pictures and the kind words. – I have just added some names to the list but I don’t have the time to take photos at the moment.

  5. I have more red/blue pencils you don’t have in the picture

    this are the brands:

    pax bicolor (made in chile)
    Eberhard faber-van dike (made in argentina)
    Eberhard faber- hevy check (made in argentina)
    Magazine pencil (made in germany)
    consul bicolor (made in argentina)
    Marader office (made in argentina)

    some pictures of this ones are in

  6. Hi Dasmarians,

    Thank you for sharing this information.

    In Canada, this type of pencil is (in 2008) an extreme specialty. All nine of these pencils were provided by an overseas pencil friend or purchased via mail order.

    Are red and blue pencils regularly available in Argentina? I am not familiar with most of the brands you mention.

  7. Hi, yes, red and blue pencils are available in drafting shops, I’m an architect and I use a lot for make corrections and notes on the plans, I use a lot the pax pencil (from chile) this is the most common red/blue pencil.
    I forget the faber-castell 737 (from Brazil) this are a available in most pencils/books shops.

  8. Sorry for (mis-)using this discussion for my private wishes but if anyone is willing to send me some red and blue pencils for my collection I would be very happy. Of course I pay for the pencils as well as for the shipping (PayPal). Any offers are much appreciated! My email is schmidt AT stdk DOT de.

  9. I’ve got both the Conté Television 649 and the Faber-Castell Castell 873, I prefer the Conté pencil for marking on fine paper, the soft lead doesn’t tear the paper and the shades of red and blue are light enough that I see the words that I’ve shaded very well. I’d like to purchase more of them, I got them while I was on a trip to France.

  10. Mme où Mr, pourriez-vous me dire comment puis-je acheter vos crayons deux couleurs rouge et bleu; car il m’est très difficile d’en trouvais autour de chez moi je demeure a
    < ...> merci de votre compréhension De Leeuw Daniel.

  11. Translation of above:

    Ms or Mr, could you tell me how can I buy your pencils two colors red and blue; because it is very difficult for me to found around home i remains a
    thank you for your understanding of.
    Leeuw Daniel

    (I used

  12. Are these colored pencils the same as standard color pencils. Is the formula dry and hard like a Derwent Studio or waxy and soft, like standard Prismacolor. Just curious.

  13. i’ve been told that thoose pencils are told “TELEVISION” beccause their releise date is the same than the Télévision in france. A nice story. Hard to find now, as far as i know !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *