Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705

Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705

It has been over two years since we last looked at a copying pencil.

The Sanford Noblot, like the Koh-I-Noor Kopierstifte 1561, appears to be a regular graphite pencil, writing with a traditional “black lead” core.

There are still several copying pencils on the market with coloured leads, but the Noblot is the last one I’m aware of in the graphite style.

It is a handsome pencil, with silver lettering on a luminous grey barrel, and a metal cap.

It also has a slogan on the reverse side : “A Bottle of Ink in a Pencil”.

Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705

The obverse reads “Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705”.

Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705

If you look carefully, you can see an impressed remnant of the Eberhard Faber heritage: “Woodclinched U.S.A.”.

Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705

As a pencil, it seems a bit cheap and scratchy. It is definitely an indelible pencil, trouncing the erasure attempts of even the Staedtler Mars plastic.

To test the copying quality, I drew (imperfectly) a circle on a sheet of Bloc Faf paper.

Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705

I then wet the paper revealing a rich cobalt blue:

Sanford Noblot Ink Pencil 705

With tissue and other paper types, I’m afraid that I couldn’t pick up much more than a smudge of blue. I’m curious about the exact paper choices and water application techniques that would be required to use the pencil as a working copying pencil.

Do you use this pencil? What do you use it for, and how do you use it?

Untangling (a small piece of) Sanford’s web

Pencil aficionados are aware that many of the pencil brands of yesteryear are now owned by Sanford, a division of the huge conglomerate Newell-Rubbermaid.

Sanford has acquired a lot of brands over the years, including hundreds of pencil names once owned by Eberhard Faber.

As a global firm, the offerings vary from market to market. Sanford Venezuela still makes the Mongol, and Berol UK (also in the family) still make the Venus and a Mirado version. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Here, we’ll take a look at Sanford’s US woodcase graphite pencil offerings, extracted from their website.

Untangling (some of) Sanford's web

On the graphite side, there are two brand labels used – Papermate, and Sanford. Papermate offers the writing/office pencils, while Sanford handles the art/drawing pencils.

Oh, and one other pencil on the Sanford side – the Eagle Golf pencil. Ouch. One of the great names in pencil history has been reduced to hawking golf pencils.

I suspect that we won’t be seeing anything new on the pencil front from Sanford. Between competition from inexpensive Chinese made pencils and a declining market, Sanford/Newell-Rubbermaid seem to have decided to put their energy elsewhere.

Papermate Canadiana and Canadiana Naturals pencils

Papermate Canadiana and Canadiana Naturals pencils

The name is pure marketing, since the pencils are not Canadian in any meaningful way. Sold in Canada by Papermate, a brand of Sanford, which is a division of Newell Rubbermaid, these are everyday office pencils.

They are offerered in two varieties – a typical yellow office pencil finish, and an unvarnished “Naturals” version.

Papermate Canadiana and Canadiana Naturals pencils

There is one immediately noticeable aspect to these pencils – the wood is extremely white. It is my understanding that most cedar used in pencils today is dyed pink/red, to make it appear similar to the Eastern Red Cedar of years past.

Papermate Canadiana and Canadiana Naturals pencils

These pencils don’t claim to be cedar, yet they do sharpen just as easily. They also state “Does not contain rainforest wood”. So what wood are they? Hmmm.

The Canadiana cellophane package has a number of claims:

– Smudge resistant eraser for clean removal of pencil marks
– Made from real wood for easy sharpening
– Ideal for schoolwork and general writing

The Canadian Naturals box has some slightly different claims:

– Made from unlacquered wood for a natural feel
– Sharpens easily
– Non-smudge eraser for clean removal of pencil marks

The pencils are quite usable, with a dark, sufficiently smooth (and non-crumbling) though unremarkable lead. The eraser works quite well.

The “Naturals” version seems to be a reasonable compromise between overly finished natural pencils, and those that are a bit too raw.

Overall, I guess they are not bad as office pencils.

Papermate Canadiana and Canadiana Naturals pencils

Prismacolor Turquoise Pencil

Cap of the Prismacolor Turquoise pencil.

Here’s a modern pencil with a unique retro look and quite a bit of history. The Eagle Turquoise dates from at least 1901 (according to the Berol UK website) and is mentioned in Petroski’s The Pencil. It was made by Eagle (which became Berol), and eventually acquired by Sanford.

The pencil is turquoise (did I have to state that?) with silver stamping, and has a noticeable metal cap. It’s not a common feature. The cap has a faint red stripe.

It is imprinted:

USA ‘Chemi-Sealed’ Prismacolor Turquoise 02263 (375) 2B

The five digit number varies with the pencil grade.

It’s a good pencil, and does indeed seem quite strong. It writes smoothly and darkly without the graphite crumbling – no complaints.

The box (a typical art supply tin) has this description:

“The long-standing tradition of Turquoise professional drawing pencils continues to set the industry standard for the highest quality in technical and fine art drawing. Pure and smooth laydown in a wide variety of grades, the lead sharpens to a perfect point for a scartchless, glossy line in any weight.”

The “Prismacolor” branding is much more emphasized than the “Turquoise” name.

I happen to have a couple of older boxes of Turquoise pencils from the Berol and Eagle eras, shown below.
Boxes of Vintage Turquoise pencil.

The newer box says, “Turquiose Eagle Drawing Pencils with strong, smooth durable leads precision graded in 17 degrees.”

The older box is more verbose:

“Stronger points…Developed by seven years of intensive research, the super-bonding process (U.S. Patent Nos. 1,854,905 and 1,892,508) welds the Turquoise lead and wood into a solid unit that effectively resists point breakage.

“Exact grading…Scientific proportioning of graphite and clay in 17 different lead formulas akes every Turquoise true-to-grade. The super bonding process prevents any change in this basic perfection and guarantees lasting uniformity.

“Smoother leads..The correct content of rare lubricating waxes is permanently retained in the leads by the impervious coating deposited on them in the super bonding process.”

Wow! Would it be possible to market a pencil in this manner today? I love all the references to science and research.

The older pencils actually have the patent numbers printed on the pencils!

The Turquoise is a winner – a reasonably priced high quality modern pencil, with some design flair and a century of history. What’s not to like?

Caps of the Prismacolor Turquoise pencil.