My father’s pencil, by Finn

Today, we have a special guest contribution from Finn of Copenhagen, Denmark:

This Criterium 2613 has a special story.

My late father worked as a maker of fine fur coats in a known fur house in Copenhagen as his day time job, and was a dedicated artist in his spare time.

Back then you could not buy the Criterium in any shop in Denmark, but a salesman from a pencil manufacturer visited major companies and tried to get business. The fur house did not place an order, but my father had spotted the Criterium 2613 and negotiated with the salesman to let him buy the salesman’s sample. He wanted it for private drawing use, but the Criterium 2613 was part of a presentation box the salesman used when he was visiting possible customers. It all ended up with my father getting the pencil and the salesman writing back to France to get a new one for the sample box.

So this Criterium 2613 was originally part of a presentation kit, carried by a salesman in the mid sixties.

My father kept it for the rest of his life and used it a lot untill his death about five years ago.

I am using this Criterium 2613 a lot together with my other mechanical pencils, and if I am out of the house with only one pencil and a sketch book, this is the one.

Thanks, Finn!

Text and photos by Finn.

11 Replies to “My father’s pencil, by Finn”

  1. Thanks for this lovely story. The Criterium is a wonderful mechanical pencil indeed–one of my favorites. It is still made, most recently by Bic in France, but unfortunately it is not distributed in the USA.

  2. I appreciate the story also. Scandanavian sons and fathers are a phenomenon I think. I am sorry we can’t get this pencil in the US.

  3. Just to make sure, I checked on the Bic site as well as Bundoki. Alas: no mention on the French Bic site, and Bundoki is sold out: this leads me to suspect that the pencil has been discontinued. If so, what a shame!

  4. Hmmm, right you are. I must not have gone on to the second page. Sorry! In any case, it is sad not to be able to order the Criterium and some of the woodcased pencils in the USA. The site will not allow foreign orders.

  5. On the topic, you might appreciate this:

    The pencil in the upper part of the photo was my grandfather’s. He used this for photo-retouching. I’d guess it’s from the 1960s.
    The newer one at the bottom is one I’ve used in art school- and today as a bookbinder and archivist. It’s nice to know Fixpencils are still made.
    Using tools that had been held by my grandfather, who was an outstanding craftsman, is indescribably meaningful to me. He died when I was just 4 years old, and I like to think his spirit has always been with me.

  6. Thank you! I found your story while searhing for what I believe was one of my grandfather’s pens. The exact same model. I still have it today and use it in my workshop.

  7. Joachim again, I thought I’d share a bit more story:

    I have my grandpa’s old Criterium 2613 – it looks just like this one, with the Criterium name on the clip, and a script font “Criterium” and the number 2613 etched into the plastic. My guestimation at dating it is the 60’s. I just managed to get the eraser/sharpener part loose, it had corroded slightly with some white powder and got stuck.

    It was amazing to open it after all these years – and to know that the last one to use that eraser was my Grandpa maybe 35-40 years ago the soonest.

    My Grandfather died when I was 7. He lived in another town so we used to communicate by morse code-mail. He taught me to read and write morse code, and also mirror text that I had to read with a mirror. I like to think he was using this pencil to write to me.

    He was such a great grandpa. I remember sending him my school timetable to the hospital when he got sick together with a letter so he could see what his “little tomcat” as he called me was doing, but he died the same day I sent it so he never got it.

    Just like “speculator” wrote – I have always felt his spirit is with me. I always feels good when I grab his pen. I’m sure he is glad I got the eraser unstuck. – Now I just have to find a new fitting cylindrical eraser, since this one is almost used down to the edge.

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