Saturday, July 18th, 2015

Noteworthy Pens and Pencils: Which are your all-time favorites?



In my mind, two of the most iconic writing implements in recent times are the Blackwing pencil and the Lamy Safari fountain pen.

The Blackwing 602 pencil was  introduced in the 1930s by Eberhard Faber. A very soft pencil with wax added to the lead, it had been advertised as requiring only half of the usual physical effort to produce the marking. “Half the pressure, twice the speed” was their motto.

Artists, writers, and musicians loved the Blackwing 602, including Oscar-winning animator Chuck Jones, author John Steinbeck, and record producer Quincy Jones.

After the Blackwing was discontinued in the 1990′s, fans began paying as much as $40 per pencil to seize unused stock listed on Ebay. In 2010, Palomino, whose industry roots were planted over a century ago, revived the Blackwing to much critical acclaim.

The Lamy Safari fountain pen was first introduced in 1980 and initially designed for 10-15 years olds. It was made of olive green ABS plastic in an avant-garde style and was the outcome of extensive research work in the field of youth psychology.

Available in a variety of pleasing colors and nib widths, this durable pen which sells for under $40 has been many people’s first foray into the wonderful world of fountain pen writing. (Including me, A red Safari with a medium nib was my first.) 

What other pens and pencils do you find Noteworthy?

3 thoughts on “Noteworthy Pens and Pencils: Which are your all-time favorites?

  1. I really like the Venus 3H pencils – very hard lead that leaves very fine lines. The Pilot G2 gel pens are my personal favorite everyday writing pen. Banned from use while I was an active duty soldier due to the smearing ability, now that I am retired I can be rebellious and use gel pens. I also am a big fan of the Liquid Expresso pens for their very fine lines, and smooth writing. A Staedtler 980 lead holder has been my constant companion on deployment; ever ready drawing range and shot cards. The 980 might not be the fanciest lead holder, but it is nearly soldier-proof and does not need sharpening. Paired with an equally cheap Staedtler Radett eraser (they came in a set at the PX), I was able to draw and erase without having to use my pocket knife to sharpen my pencil or run out of eraser. For many years my only fountain pen was a very cheap Sheaffer I picked up at the PX for some long-forgotten reason. I just recently purchased a Lamy Safari and a Kaweco Classic Sport fountain pens from JetPens. My eldest daughter gave me a vibrant purple ink. I love the way the dark purple ink shows up on my Post-It Notes.

  2. The new uni-ball air has somewhat of a hold on me. It writes smoothly and is so darn pretty. I guess I’m smitten.

  3. The original Blackwing 602 wasn’t soft, it was smooth. The first Palomino Blackwing is soft and makes a nice dark line. The second Palomino version is pretty close to the original. I got hooked on the original 602s when I was looking for replacement Black Velvet pencils and discovered the community of folks interested in rare pencils.

    Black Velvet is still my favorite but the Original 602 is a close 2nd. My favorite fountain pen is the Sailor 1911, then the Kaweko Sport (never fails) but I love Safaris too. Gosh, this is like trying to pick a favorite child. ;)

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