Scary Point

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If you’ve ever bought vintage Staedtler Mars tin-cased pencils on eBay, this Lumochrom insert will be familiar.  I wonder what sharpener was capable of producing such a long, needle-sharp point?  The shape certainly reminds one of the Janus 4046/4048. (A slightly different sharpened shape can be seen in this vintage poster at Lexikaliker.)

By the way here’s what’s on  the reverse…

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16 thoughts on “Scary Point

  1. Hi Sola, maybe Gunther knows, but I don’t think the tapering needle point of the red Lumochrom was made with the Staedtler 5700D or the Janus, unless it was finished somehow by hand. Both the Janus and the 5700D appear to expose the cylinder of the lead without a taper. Possibly the 5700D has a second setting to shape the point but if so the results are not shown in the picture. To achieve such an extreme needle point manually I think would require a diamondcutter’s touch. So was it done with some other kind of rotary (crank) sharpener, or perhaps one of those little grinders associated with leadholders? Or with a rasp and sandpaper afterall?

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    1. I was actually thinking that it might just be an idealized drawing ;) It is difficult to believe anything like that was possible but judging by the number of ads that show such needle points, it must have been standard practice at one time! Your theory makes a lot of sense. I’m still curious…

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  2. I think that the graphic designer who created that leaflet clearly overshot the mark ;-) Such a point isn’t realistic, and even if someone would be able to cut something like this the point would break as soon as it meets the paper. – By the way, in view of the half moons and the shape of the Mars head I would say this great leaflet is from the mid-1950s.

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    1. They really don’t look that old, the tin, the insert or the pencils, but I guess you’re right about the dating. Amazing! And while the illustration is indeed a bit unrealistic, a Lumochrom wouldn’t break, would it?! I tried writing with my vintage Lumochroms yesterday and they really do seem to keep their sharp edge very well. No blurry edges like other colored pencils.

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      1. Yes, the Lumochrom is indeed very break resistant – I have just successfully sharpened my orange one with the Janus 4048 which is very telling – but I doubt that a point like the one shown in the illustration is feasible and usable. Anyway, it is great to look at!

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    1. Now that you say it, I guess there was! BTW wouldn’t it be wonderful if one were to stumble upon one of the rarer colors in the range, like lilac or grey? :)

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  3. I just bought an old Staedtler 5700D Sharpener and I can confirm that it doesn’t produce the point in the image. It does however produce a finer thinned core of lead than any other ‘draftsman’ sharpener I have tried- takes the core down to about 1.5 mm without breaking it. even at the longer setting. Amazing German engineering!

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