The pencils of France

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The pencils of France

The last two weeks, we’ve looked at a few pencils from France. Or to be more precise, pencils from French companies.

The pencils of France

Let’s take a look at them together, and see how they compare. I am including these pencils from this month:

Conté à Paris Graphite 601 pencil

Bic Mentor 2223 pencil

Bic Gilbert 33 pencil

Bic Critérium 550 pencil

Maped Black’Peps pencil

The Evolution Triangle pencil is not included, being an oversize specialty pencil.

The pencils of France

Samples of the following previously mentioned pencils were also retrieved from the pencil talk archives for this test:

Rhodia Pencil

Bic 101 pencil

Conté Evolution pencil

The pencils of France

A Rhodia pad (a No. 38 in particular) seemed to be an appropriate test paper. I coudn’t find a French made eraser, so testing was done with a Spanish manufactured Factis.

The pencils of France

Overall, it is clear that these pencils didn’t come from a North American office supply store – not a bland yellow pencil in the bunch! Each single pencil (except the Mentor) has an unusual colour or design. I like all of them, but the Black’Peps and Critérium 550 are the standouts for me.

The pencils of France

I tried sharpening each pencil in a Carl Decade DE-100 sharpener. Even the plastic Evolution. All sharpened well, but I noticed that the triangular pencils weren’t necessarily gripped properly.

The pencils of France

Laying down a line, I tried each pencil I had in grades HB through 2B. The Evolution, though perhaps having other merits, remained a weak performer in my view. The Mentor as well seemed scatchy. The nicest lines were from the Critérium, Black’Peps, and especially the Graphite 601.

The pencils of France

Handwriting erasure was a surprise – there were distinct differences. The Factis eraser on Rhodia paper cleanly erased the Critérium, Gilbert, and Graphite 601 writing – and had problems with all others. I suppose the specific formulations made the difference.

The pencils of France

A number of these pencils have distinct merits – the Gilbert as a quality round pencil made in several degrees – the Black’Peps for innovative design in a triangular shape, the 101 for value – but I had no trouble in deciding that the Conté à Paris Graphite 601 was the best in overall quality.

The pencils of France