I keep thinking of a satyr when I see the name of this pencil sharpener, but that’s a creature that is part man and part goat. The Saphir is this No. 4035 pencil sharpener made by A.W. Faber in Germany. It came from the effects of my grandmother’s stepbrother and makes a fine addition to my pen and pencil collection. I have no information on its age. It came with a small green leather case, which looks light green in these photos but is a darker pine green. “Saphir” is German for sapphire and is pronounced zah-fir. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘Writing Tools’ Category
When I began reading “How To Sharpen Pencils” this week, I felt sure that author David Rees was turning my crank.
Rees begins his little pencil-yellow book with “The Pencil Sharpener’s Tool Kit,” listing, among other items, his favorite sharpeners, including the Alvin Brass Bullet single-blade pocket sharpener; the Palomino-KUM, a two-step pocket sharpener that he says “produces a lovely, long point”; the Dahle 166 single-burr hand-crank; and the El Casco double-burr hand-crank. “This is the finest hand-crank pencil sharpener in the world,” he says. Okay, so this smacks of parody, I thought, suspecting he invented those names to convince gullible readers those sharpeners truly exist, like the bit at the end of the movie “American Graffiti” that tells each character’s history subsequent to the movie to add realism to the story. But I found every sharpener on Amazon, so that shoots that theory. Maybe he is serious, I thought. Read the rest of this entry »
I found this box of Pluto pencils today at an Alliance thrift and antique store. The box contains seven unsharpened pencils, Pluto 30 Hard, made by Koh-I-Noor Pencil Factory, L&C Hardtmuth Inc., Bloomsbury, N.J. Read the rest of this entry »
This Royal Arrow typewriter was made in the late 1930s or early 1940s. One indicator of its age is the round shape of the keys and the style of the housing. Keys took on a square shape with rounded corners soon after, maybe in the late 1940s or early 1950s, and more colors were used for the housing. I haven’t been able to find a serial number in the usual place to date it exactly. It’s a heavy, dark gray metal; the color in the following photos is the true color, whereas this photo is a bit washed out. Read the rest of this entry »
This partial box of pencils contains five Eberhard Faber Van Dyke 816 copying pencils and one EF Mongol 865 indelible colored pencil. Copying pencils were used to mark papers when the user didn’t want the marks to show on the copies; the copier did not copy the pencil marks. I like the sticker on the box that shows the place of purchase. Read the rest of this entry »
The U.S. Postal Service chicken-scratch deciphering center closed about 10 years after it opened, an indication of the advances in computer technology.. The Akron Remote Encoding Center on Exeter Road, near the Lockheed Martin plant and the airdock off U.S. Route 224, opened in 1994. At the center, employees looked at mail on a computer screen to decipher messy names and addresses that computers could not read. Computers could read only about 40 percent of the mail in 1994, and, if I remember correctly, the computers could read only neat block printing. The mail that stumped the computers was studied by employees who entered the information on their keyboards. Now the computers can read most of the envelopes, including cursive. Once again, people and handwork are being replaced by machines.
It’s a centuries-old problem but painful nonetheless. Computers can read the worst scribbles, scratches and scrawls — or should I call it cursively challenged chirography? — that some folks call handwriting, but people don’t have it so easy. How many people look at a note they’ve written and say, “I can’t read my own writing?” Read the rest of this entry »
I learned how to use a slide rule in junior high school in the early 1970s, just before it was ousted by the electronic calculator. My parents bought our first calculator, a heavy plastic unit that performed the four basic math functions and square roots, perhaps when I was in ninth grade. The shorter, yellow, slide rule is a Prestige that came in an Ohio Power Co.slipcase.
These reproductions of Parker fountain pen ads were published in the hardcover 1996 Parker desk calendar. Read the rest of this entry »
These are some of my somewhat old ink bottles. Three contain ink, which I use: the tall Sheaffer Royal Blue, the Sheaffer Emerald Green, and the Parker Superchrome Turquoise. Most of these bottles, I suspect, are from the 1950s and 1960s. The two Parker bottles with a tapering design are probably older; if anyone knows, let me know.