Today we examine a trio of red and blue pencils from around the globe.
From Berol México we have the Escolar. A part of the global Sanford empire, Berol México continues to use historically important pen and pencil brand names such as Blaisdell and Esterbrook.
Sanford products from México can be found at some small independent art supply stores in Canada. The appearance of these products suggests that they have been in a dusty corner of a warehouse for some years. But I have no specific information.
This particular pencil is hexagonal and unsharpened, with the sides alternately painted red and blue. The stamping of the name may be on either a red or blue side.
L to R: CPD 100, Bicolor 999, Escolar
From Caran d’Ache is the Bicolor 999. Unlike many better known Caran d’Ache products, this pencil doesn’t appear to be widely exported from Switzerland.
The pencil bears the FSC logo, and is hexagonal and pre-sharpened at both ends. The red end has a removable plastic cover embellished with a bar code.
Lastly, the Danish brand Linex (though the products don’t claim to be made in Denmark) offers the CPD 100.
The CPD 100 is an oversized triangular pencil, with the red end sharpened. A set of ten comes in a plastic wallet.
Trying them on paper, the Escolar does surprising well for a student pencil. It sharpens easily, the “red” is fairly red, the point doesn’t break under pressure.
The Bicolor 999 is a delight. Both ends leave truly smooth and rich lines. The “red” is slightly on the orange side. I want to keep using it. It is one of those pencils that demonstrates the merits of making and using quality pencils.
The CPD 100 is the disappointment of the three. The “red” is more on the pink side. The sharpening was tough, and the leads a bit on the scratchy side. It isn’t a terrible pencil, but there are better choices available.
8 Replies to “Red and Blue pencils from Berol México, Caran d’Ache, and Linex”
Nice! I have not seen any dual color pencils for decades. I did not know anyone anywhere even made them any longer. Perhaps I need to look.
Bill, thanks for your comment. They are still around! Some further reading is here.
Those Caran d’ Ache look great. I’ve got some Koh-I-Noor red and blue pencils, but their point-retention isn’t great; they break too easily with an acute point. I think my favourite concept for a dual pencil is the Tombow LV-KEV, but I haven’t actually tried them. I’ll have to include a few with my next order to Bundoki or Pencils.jp.
These are still fairly common in Japan. I have some which I use for keeping records of go games, marking white’s moves with red and black’s moves with blue.
Amazon has a lot of these “red-blue pencils” “????”, here is a link to some Snoopy branded pencils from Tombow: http://www.amazon.co.jp/Tombow-BSN-262-%E8%B5%A4%E9%9D%92%E9%89%9B%E7%AD%862%E6%9C%AC%E7%B5%84/dp/B0016GJXBY/ref=sr_1_20?s=toys&ie=UTF8&qid=1329853744&sr=1-20
Cult Pens sells the Bicolor. Not cheap, though.
I don’t know if the Berol Escolar is the traditional “Bicolor” that I used throughout my elementary/middle school years in Mexico or if it’s some new version.
One thing I can’t seem to remember is if the pencil was actually marketed as Berol Bicolor or just as a bicolor pencil, as the school lists usually just had “1x Lapiz Bicolor Berel” (1x Berol bicolor pencil). Since these were items what we often lost before finishing them, we used to buy packs of 12 (or multiple packs of them). These pencils were, however, regarded as low quality by many, as they had the tendency to break and splinter (usually that was depending on the pencil sharpener used). Many of us replaced them with Berol Verithin single color pencils, which were basically Turquoise pencils but that came in either blue or red, usually the blue lasted a lot longer, as we mostly used red. Those small caps at the end of the pencil were golden instead of silver, and had a line that was either red or blue.
I wondering how do you keep your pencils.
If I want to store my pencils for years, I am thinking of using the dehumidifier (package/disposable type), but I am worry that all the moisture will be collected and will destroy the pencil. Is that true or what do you think?
Noname: I don’t think it’s a huge issue for the pencils themselves. I have some that are 40+ years old, have been stored without any special precautions taken, that still work perfectly and haven’t noticeably deteriorated over time. One thing that will deteriorate is the erasers; they dry out with age, and I’m not sure what you could do to avoid that.