Showing posts with label mechanical pencils. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mechanical pencils. Show all posts

Friday, February 2, 2018

Koh-I-Noor Versatil lead holder from 70s

koh i noor lead holder clutch 2mm lead
A short history on the subject:
-In 1946 the introduction of metal mechanic pencils Versatil
-In 1957 the formation of the export subsidiary company Bohemia Works

The pencil I have is a Bohemia Works Toison D'Or Versatil 5900 made by Koh I Noor. There is nowhere the Koh I Noor name on the pencil. That is because the branding for exported products was Bohemia Works.
It is a 2 mm clutch lead holder, produced in the early 1970's. The pencil has an all metal body, painted black and a lighter color detail at the top. It has a hexagonal shape, the clutch system is brass and has a self sharpening system in the cap (unscrew the cap and it has a 4 arm fork that sharpens the lead)
There where other models that featured a clip.
This pencil has seen a lot of action all these years. The writing on the side is gone, you can see where the writing was if you shine a light on the body. When it was new it would have an embossed gold writing. The black paint is coming off in some parts and the barrel metal is showing. The detailing at the top part is mostly gone showing the black paint beneath.

koh i noor lead holder clutch 2mm lead 70's branding
Koh I Noor Versatil 5900 70's design
The cool part is that even today you can buy the same Versatil pencil, in the same color you could get it 40 some years ago.

koh i noor lead holder brass mechanism versatil
mechanism of Koh-I-Noor Versatil 5900 from 70's
Inside the pen. It is a basic design. You have the body of the pencil which is metal. The mechanism that holds the lead (clutch) made out of brass. The mechanism is gravity aided meaning it holds the lead in putting tension on 3 arms. When you press the advance button the tension is released and the lead can advance. It is not an incremented advance system as in more known mechanical pencils, it just slides out. How much is up to you.
The last part is the cap of the advance system which has a trident with which you can sharpen the lead (now it is a bident :) as one of the arms is broken). Even after all these years and use the pencil works as is should. One of the design flaws of the lead holder, in my opinion, is the smooth paint finish which tends to slip from your hand after a longer writing session.

If you are in the market for a pencil with a lot of history this could be the one. You can buy vintage from eBay or new. Whatever pencil you will choose it will be a "Versatil" one.
Looking at what Koh I Noor has to offer I found a very beautiful pencil with an old-modern design, knurled grip, the Koh-I-Noor notebook 5600. I will make a review of it shortly.

koh i noor notebook lead holder pencil
Koh I Noor notebook lead holder
koh i noor versatil 5900 lead holder
Modern Koh I Noor Versatil

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Rotring Tikky a short history

I am a long Rotring Tikky user and today I will share with you the beloved mechanical pencil.
I got my first Rotring mechanical pencil in middle school. If I am not mistaking it was a yellow second generation of Rotring Tikky. Unfortunately, I lost it sometime during high school. At some point, I had a red second generation Rotring Tikky but I can't remember it's faith. At the moment I have a black second generation Rotring Tikky 0.7 that I got in high school and used throughout the university, 2 Rotring Tikky's third generation one 0.5 and one 0.7 mm. One of my big regrets is that I do not have a Tikky Special first generation.
I only owned and used Rotring during the school years. The exception to this was my first mechanical pencil, a plastic no-name followed by a Bic. Both of them I had in early years of school when I think my parents didn't trust me with a precision instrument :)
Both of my parents are engineers and both where using Rotring for many years as it was pretty much the standard in the industry. Why everyone was using them is pretty clear. They are affordable, good quality, a precise instrument that will last a very long time, and they are readily available. They come in all sizes 0.35 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm and 1.0 mm. And also, I do not think that the market back then didn't have such a plethora of mechanical pencils to choose from.
At least here (Romania), if you will go into a stationary shop it is almost certain they have Rotring Tikky mechanical pencils. In the last years, the Faber Castell has been a lot more aggressive and is starting to dominate the shelves of the stores. So maybe the new generations will grow with Faber Castell instead of the Tikky.

The history behind the Rotring mechanical pencil

In 1979 the Rotring Tikky mechanical pencil debuts
In 1997 the second generation of Tikky hits the market
In 2007 the third generation of Tikky was available to the customers.

A nice graphical presentation of the Rotring history

Rotring Tikky I

The first generation of Rotring Tikky was produced in West Germany and in Germany after 1989. It featured a metal drafting fixed point a slim body with waved grip section. The barrel was made out of plastic or metal and it was available in different colors. It had a sturdy clip which was made out of metal and on it was stamped "Rotring" and "W. Germany" until 1989 and with "Rotring" and "Germany" after. The cap was metallic and was hiding the eraser. Only present in the Tikky Special, the eraser also had a pin in it to unclog the pencil if the lead would jam in it. The next models do not have this feature anymore. The mechanism inside was made out of brass and could be taken out of the pencil.
Rotring came out with several models of the Tikky right at the beginning, and there were a few variants between labeling them. For example, not all Rotring Tikky first generation came with a red ring and others had the name rOtring written in red instead of the red ring. Some of the pencils featured an endcap that had on the tip of it standard color coding for the size of the lead. The barrel came in all sorts of colors, even crazy psychedelic paints.
With the first generation, Rotring seemed to use the size 0.3 mm and 0.9 mm instead of 0.35 mm and 1.0 mm nowadays.
Rotring introduced the Trio Pen which later became the Tikky 3 in 1. The first reference I found about the Trio pen was in a 1990 German product catalog but I think the model appeared sooner. Also alongside with the first Tikky mechanical pencil Rotring brought to the market the Tikky ballpoint.

The other versions of the Tikky where:
Tikky Special
rotring T (sliding sleeve from 5 mm to 3.5 mm in early models, fixed sleeve later on)
rotring TS slide (half sliding sleeve - I think is the successor of the rotring T)
rotring Fineliner F or just rotring F (fixed 4 mm sleeve)
Tikky Automatic and rotring Automatic LS (auto advance of lead, LS stands for locking system)
Tikky Double Push (plastic and metallic versions - both these versions had a secondary push button on the barrel)
rotring S (plastic and metallic versions, 3 mm to 0 mm sliding sleeve)

The differences between the models:
Tikky Special - Plastic design with a fixed sleeve. It came in 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm. Some of the Tikky Special did not have a red ring while others had. There was a white version of the Tikky special which had all sizes available 0.3 mm 0.5 mm 0.7 mm 0.9 mm. The writing and the ring on these were color coded to the lead size.
yellow for 0.3 mm
brown for 0.5 mm
blue for 0.7 mm
orange for 0.9 mm

rOtring T - "Mechanical pencil with fine lead T for technical drawings, before ink lining
Through the technical precision of the pencil rOtring T a long existing problem has been answered: making a neat drawing using a ruler and a template. The tubular lead guide retracts from 5 mm to 3.5 mm (the thickness of a ruler). rotring T is delivered in 3 lead sizes 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, each model comes with HB polymer lead. The pencils container comes with 6 leads for backup."
The main feature of the T model is the partially retractable sleeve which was I think a safety mechanism for when using a ruler and also it gave the possibility to have maybe more control. The end cap had a size color coding.
The 1.5 mm retracting sleeve feature was abandoned as in the Rotring 1990 catalog the model rOtring T is marketed as a fixed sleeve.

rOtring TS slide - in the Rotring 1990 catalog, the rOtring TS slide is marketed as a half sliding sleeve. This I think is the successor of the model T which at this point became a fixed sleeve.

rOtring F - "Mechanical pencil with fine lead F for writing and sketching.
This pencil is equipped with a rigid tubular lead guide with a length of 4 mm which avoids lead brakes and offers a precision execution when using a ruler. rotring F is equipped with polymer lead size 0.5 mm HB. The pencils container comes with 3 leads for backup."
So the F model was available only in 0.5 mm.

Tikky Automatic LS - Metall mechanical pencil with fully automatic lead feed, comes in 0.5 mm. The lead automatically advances during use while the "LS" locking system prevents undesirable lead feed (when carrying in a pocket for example)

Tikky Automatic - Plastic version of the previous model, with fully automatic lead feed, comes in 0.5 mm. Does not feature the locking system.

Tikky Double Push - Comes in a plastic and a metal version. It features a fixed sleeve protector and fully retractable feed mechanism. The main feature is a secondary side button to advance the lead

rOtring S - "Mechanical pencil with fine lead S for writing and neat sketching.
The tubular lead guide retracts with 3 mm in sync with the use of the lead. This way an optimal efficiency of the lead as well as a maximum safety against lead snaps. rotring S is equipped with polymer lead 0.5 mm, hardness HB. The pencil's container comes with 6 leads for backup."
So the S model features a 3 mm sliding sleeve. The body of the pencil comes in plastic or metal. The end cap had a size color coding.
The yellowish color is "safari green"

(click on the images to enlarge)
rotring Tikky
rOtring T / rOtring F / rOtring S (1980) Rotring product catalog (Romania)

rotring TS slide, rotring T, 1990 catalog
Rotring 1990 catalog
Tikky metallic, double push and automatic, catalog 1990

Tikky Special catalog 1990

Trio Pen (precursor of Tikky 3 in 1)

Automatic & Double Push leaflet rOtring Catalogue 1990

rOtring leads

rotring Tikky 1
rOtring T

rotring 1 tikky f
rOtring Fineliner F

rOtring clip W.Germany before 89

Tikky Special without red ring

Metallic Double Push Tikky

Tikky Special
rOtring F Fineliner


rOtring Special and box

 rOtring TS slide

rOtring T brass mechanism

Tikky Special multiple colors

Tikky Automatic

rOtring Special without red ring

Metallic Double Push Tikky 

Rotring Tikky II

The Second Tikky suffered a few changes. First, it gained a little bit of weight. It became a little bit fatter. Second, the clip style changed. It is a less secure one, but esthetically looks nice. The clip is not stamped with anything which it is a shame. Where the clip meets the barrel it is cast in plastic with a very small font "Made in Germany". The rest of the writing on the pencil is paint. The barrel is plastic. The Tikky II weights 10 grams.

The Rotring Tikky II came in 2 variants
rOtring Tikky II - which had markings on the pencil "rOtring Tikky II 0.5" or  "rOtring T 0.5". This is the most common version of the Tikky 2. It came in a variety of colors including metallic and transparent barrels.

rOtring Tikky SC - features a retractable tip and a rubberized grip. This one is less common and less accessible.

(click on the images to enlarge)
translucent Tikky II

rOtring T branding
rOtring Tikky SC
rOtring Tikky SC

Made in Germany marking

Rotring Tikky III

The third generation named just Rotring Tikky is a reincarnation of the Tikky, after Rotring was bought by Standford. The pencil is also sold under the name "Papermate Tikky by Rotring" or just "Papermate precision" version which does not have a red ring.
The third generation of Tikky is produced in China while the previous two were made in Germany. The biggest difference to the previous version is a partial rubberized grip (although the rOtring Tikky II SC featured a rubber grip it was different from the Tikky's III), and the end of the barrel is triangular so it won't roll off a table. The barrel is made out of ABS. The front cap is made out of stainless steel, it has a constant slope opposed to previous versions, but the quality of this part I think is less than the quality found on Tikky II. The clip style changed and now offers a look closer to the original Tikky clip, and it has stamped the rOtring name on it. The writing on the barrel changed to simply "rOtring Tikky 0.5", instead of numbering the generation with III. The cap has a hole at the top as a safety feature for children. It weights 12 grams, 2 grams more than the second version.
Currently, the Rotring Tikky is offered in 23 colors, latest colors included in the range are neon. Only the black and the burgundy with size color coding on the barrel come in all lead sizes from 0.35 mm to 1.0 mm. They are marketed as Tikky professional mechanical pencils.
The classic Rotring colors like blue standard, white standard, yellow standard, red standard, black (version without the color coding) come in 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm and 1.0 mm while the rest of the bunch come only in 0.5 or 0.7 mm.

(click on the images to enlarge)

rotring 2017 colors
2017 new colors

rotring 2017 colors
2017 new colors

rotring 4c colors
2013 4C colors

rotring tikky 2015 colors
2015 new colors

rotring neon
2017 neon colors

rotring tikky
Tikky professionals

Papermate Tikky by rOtring

Papermate precision

Resources, extra information
Rotring catalogs
Rotring website
Pictures from sales site's like eBay and other alike
Particle Navigator
Mechanical Pencil Museum
Golyostoll (in Hungarian - if you need help google translate)
Pretty Splendid (beautiful Rotring Tikky 1 & 2 collection)

Contributions to the information presented are welcomed.

A very nice history about Rotring products can be found at Unofficial Rotring