This was my haul for National Pencil Day (surely foreigners can celebrate too?). I seem to be on a roll regarding colored pencils these days, but the truth is I don’t use them much. I try, though. And I keep on buying them compulsively. I left the two reds in the sharpened condition they came in; I sharpened the rest with the Deli 0635, which my son calls the “kitty sharpener” and which I use for almost everything these days. Colored pencils are, in general, better sharpened with handheld devices because they have thicker and softer cores, but the Colorbrite core is thinner and harder so sharpening with crank sharpeners is not a problem.
The Colorbrites write very similar to the EF Mongol Red-and-Blue 860, so I would guess the formula is more or less the same. The lead has some drag to it (some colors more than others), but on the other hand it is stronger and keeps its point longer than other colored pencils that write more pleasantly. I tried some old Mitsubishi Polycolor pencils for comparison (they write with much less drag) and some tips broke upon impact – so maybe this is a necessary evil?
There are two interesting things about this set: one is that three pencils carry this “Recommended for Print Marking” legend. The others don’t.
The other thing I noticed is that the colors contained in this vintage set seem to be a bit different compared to sets that are currently available. With smaller sets there are probably some hard decisions to make regarding what colors to put in and what to leave out, and I find the differences between past and present “standard” color selections very interesting. I present below, from left to right, the Eberhard Faber Colorbrite (12 colors), the Staedtler Noris Club Jumbo (10), and the Faber-Castell Jumbo (10) color pencils for comparison.
Even with two extra colors, the Colorbrite doesn’t have black. It has two yellows and two reds though (the “scarlet” is closer to vermilion), and a pink, which in modern sets doesn’t usually get a chance till you pass the 18+ mark (maybe because boys famously never use it?). It also very generously allows for a minty light green. The Colorbrite has more affinities with the Mitsubishi No. 880 Mini colored pencil set.
Maybe the difference stems from the fact that the Colorbrite is more of a “writing” pencil (hard, waterproof, smearproof etc.) than a coloring pencil? By the way the color selection in the higher-end Van Dyke line is also very interesting. Hot pink there too!