Made in Asia PaperMate Mongol Pencils

Mongol pencils

A recent post mentioned finding new Mongol branded pencils at retailers in Panama. There are some surprises regarding these pencils. They were made in both China and Vietnam for PaperMate/Newell Rubbermaid, and exported to Latin America. Let’s take a look at them.

Mongol pencils

My first surprise is that the hexagonal pencil is made in China and the triangular pencil in Vietnam. I can speculate, but don’t really know why. The pencil packaging uses a majuscule H to indicate the hexagonal pencil and a T for the triangular pencil, but I found this confusing as H is also a pencil grade.

They definitely have the Mongol look with that copper coloured ferrule. The modern “PaperMate” name seems unexpected, but it’s an enduring brand name. Imprecise ferrule fixation (“tipping” in Tennessee parlance) has left some wood splinters sticking out and the pencil looking messy.

Mongol pencils

The writing and sharpening – for 26 cent brand name pencils – seem good to me. Not the summit of pencil making, but still completely fine.

Mongol pencils

And Newell Rubbermaid cancelled the Mongol trademark in the US in 2021, so there is a question about just what these pencils are. Mongol was and remains a global pencil brand, so I presume an ongoing demand for this brand was fulfilled through the corporate hierarchy.

Mongol pencils of course have been seen in Colombia, Venezuela, and particularly the Philipines, a country which has placed a Mongol pencil on a stamp. In fact I recall the former online store PencilThings offered imported Philippine Mongols. You can see that they are still very popular.

Duty Free Surprise

This year has started with some travel. One of the most unusual and delightful things I’ve done is to take a ferry from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Montevideo, Uruguay. And one of the surprises was an onboard duty free shop with a Caran d’Ache section!

Airport Duty Free shops today seem to mainly offer alcohol and fragrances, so it was very nice to see stationery and art supplies represented. I certainly wasn’t expecting this shop on the ferry.

Colleen Woods set sells for ¥110,000

This morning, a complete set of the original 1997 Colleen Woods pencils sold at an online auction for ¥110,000.

The price is a validation of the importance and rarity of these pencils.

Please see the previous posts on the Colleen Woods for more information:

Colleen Woods Volume 1 (2010)

Colleen Woods Volume 2 (2009)

For a relatively affordable reinterpretation from some of the same creators of the original set, please take a look at the Bosco Woods which are still available at retail.

The coffee pencil, v2.0

Last year, Caran d’Ache released an unusual product, a pencil with a lead containing coffee grounds. This blog took a look at the pencils, and deemed them innovative but having problems.

Caran d’Ache recently released a second version, officially called a Set of 3 NESPRESSO graphite pencils Limited Edition 5th Edition. This is a series that includes both ballpoints, clutch pencils, and woodcase pencils. Editions 1, 2, and 3 were ballpoint pens, while 4 included both the original pencils and a 2mm Fixpencil.

This pencil has some significant differences – the wood is “FSC™ certified cedar” rather than Swiss beech, and the lead is smooth and no longer crumbles. I would say the mark is fainter. Also gone is the unusual aroma. The end caps are “ochre, green and gold” according to Caran d’Ache. This version is an attractive, approachable, and very usable quality pencil.

Dixon Duo

For me, red and blue pencils are special. They are practical and hardworking, yet fanciful and a specialty product. I love having one on my desk, and I’ve loved sampling the many varieties that exist. But they’re not an eveyday pencil for many.

Even less common (and “common” is relative – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a red and blue pencil for sale at a non-specialty store) are other formulations of mixed-core writing/office pencils. Fifteen years ago, this blog took a look at the Tombow LV-KEV, still an outstanding pencil. I thought that was about it for this type of pencil, but a great post at Lexikaliker reminds us that there have been a few. Still, they are few in number – vintage, a few made for the Turkish and Mexican markets – and the more recent Caran d’Ache Graphicolor and the CW Pencil Enterprise “The Editor”. A very interesting comment at Lexikaliker suggests the red in The Editor is water soluble – I will have to test that if I locate one.

Today, we’ll take a look at the Dixon Duo, a pencil from the Fila conglomerate produced by Dixon Mexico for the Mexican market. Called a “lápiz entrenador” (training pencil), it is aimed at children, though in my mind it seems like a very adult writing implement.

A rounded triangular shape, it sports a 3.3mm core. Sharpening with a handheld Möbius+Ruppert was simple.

So here is what I wasn’t expecting – both ends write well. The red is vibrant and the graphite is pleasingly smooth.

Official product listing: Dixon Mexico

Upcycled pencils

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?