Red and Blue pencils VI – the Kita-Boshi Vermilion and Prussian Blue 9667 pencil


Kita-Boshi Vermilion and Prussian Blue 9667 pencil

We’ve seen red and blue pencils from both the US and Europe – and now thanks to the kindness of fellow pencil aficionado isu from the uncomfortable chair, I am able to present some pencils from the estimable Kita-Boshi in Japan.

Kita-Boshi Vermilion and Prussian Blue 9667 pencil

These aren’t just red and blue pencils – they are vermilion and prussian blue pencils!

Round in shape, the pencils are lettered in gold script. They easily sharpen, and the varnish seems first rate. Unlike some other red and blue pencils, the leads seem absolutely first rate – as strong and smooth as those in quality graphite pencils.

Kita-Boshi Vermilion and Prussian Blue 9667 pencil

The red is more of an orange to my eye, which does meet the definition of “vermilion”, but I would prefer more of a “red” red. The blue has a great rich hue which is beyond reproach.

Kita-Boshi Vermilion and Prussian Blue 9667 pencil

A mighty fine interpretation of a traditional pencil.

Further on red and blue pencils:

Red and Blue pencils
Red and Blue pencils II
Television! (The Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil)
Red and Blue pencils IV – Viarco

Red and Blue pencils V – a mechanical twist



From the uncomfortable chair:

A great red and blue leadholder at the uncomfortable chair

be the first to comment

There is a notable new post over at the uncomfortable chair.

A vintage L. & C. Hardtmuth No. 43B leadholder is featured. One end holds a red lead, and the other a blue lead.

Though unusual, there are other examples of this category. shows a 1948 red and blue Caran d’Ache Fixpencil 33 at the bottom of this page. The book Pencils has a two page spread on double-ended red and blue leadholders. And, Autopoint in the US continues to make double-ended red and blue mechanical pencils, as previously featured.

Still, the 43B appears to be unique in supporting wide diameter leads. (5.8mm is cited.)

Are there any other such mechanical pencils or leadholders out there, whether new or vintage?

Television! (The Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil)


The Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil

Well, I now have a Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil, as well as three other members of the elite red and blue pencil cadre.

The pencils are the Television 649, made by Conté in France, the RotBlauStift 162 00 from Cretacolor, made in Austria, a Koh-I-Noor 3423, origin unstated, and a Castell 873 Color by Faber-Castell, made in Germany.

The RotBlauStift is a regular sized hexagonal pencil, while the other three are oversized hexagonal pencils.

The Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil

A few notes:

– Faber-Castell is definitely the rebel here, eschewing the standard red and blue for their signature forest green. I wish they hadn’t done this. There are occasions when respecting a tradition should trump branding concerns.

– The Koh-I-Noor has exceptionally utilitarian markings, with the name imprinted via something akin to a dot matrix printer.

– The Television’s wood has the same sort of look as the Grip 2001 pencil – jelutong or pulai.

The Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil

As with our previously examined red and blue pencils, there is a range of colours – the Cretaclor is light in both red and blue, the Koh-I-Noor bright and rich in both, and the others somewhere in between.

Here are trial results with the four new pencils:

The Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil

Let’s summarize the main features of the red and blue pencils that we have looked at so far:

Manufacturer Model Shape Oversize Core
Conté Television 649 Hexagonal Yes 4mm
Cretacolor RotBlauStift 162 00 Hexagonal No 2mm
Faber-Castell Castell 873 Color Hexagonal Yes 4mm
Koh-I-Noor 3423 Hexagonal Yes 4mm
Koh-I-Noor Bürofarbstift 62 Hexagonal No 2mm
Musgrave Hermitage Thin 525 Hexagonal No 2mm
Musgrave Harvest Thick 725 Round No 4mm
Prismacolor Verithin 748 Round No 2mm
Schwan-Stabilo Stabilo 8742 Hexagonal No 2mm

These traditional pencils associated with teaching and accounting still have a strong resonance. While the keyboard has supplanted pens and pencils in many areas, it is fascinating that this sub-specialty of the woodcase pencil still continues. All of these pencils shown are in active production by their manufacturers.

The Conté Television 649 red and blue pencil

Further reading:

Red and Blue pencils (February, 2008)

Red and Blue pencils II (March, 2008)

This page at, which has documentary quality photographs of several red and blue pencils, plus a list of known red and blue pencils in production.