Eagle Verithin Colored Pencils

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Nowadays colored pencils are used mainly for coloring, and come in soft and blendable textures. But since I began this blog, I’ve discovered (belatedly, because I wasn’t the kind of person who wrote with colored pencils) that in the past, colored pencils with harder cores were widely available for office use. They performed the functions that would have been done with colored ballpoints or gel pens later on. Vintage ads promote the Colorbrites, for instance, as the “thin colored business pencil” that keeps a sharp point for a long time, and which needs only a “feather-light touch” to write with. Visual cues help differentiate coloring pencils from writing pencils: the former is usually (well, not always, but usually) round-bodied and often oversized, while the latter is hexagonal, has thinner cores and is of the same thickness as regular graphite pencils.

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The Verithins are alive as part of the Prismacolor colored pencil line for artists, whereas most of its competitors seem to have disappeared.

The below is a Canadian specimen I scored at a local art supply shop; it has a very faint “Made in Canada” imprint and the same “Flexible Lead” mark as found in the older Verithins. I have no idea what “Flexible Lead” means, or why colored pencil lead should be flexible. Must look into it sometime.

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(Added Aug. 23, 2016)

A reader has sent me some pictures of a wonderful Verithin display case. Thank you, Sue! 

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14 thoughts on “Eagle Verithin Colored Pencils

  1. Hi Sola, perhaps “flexible lead” means that the core is a non-brittle core such that it won’t break under the concerted pressure of handwriting and that it will take a point without splintering when sharpened?

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    1. Hi Junius, yes I think that is the most reasonable interpretation of the term. The core feels slightly rubbery (?) too, and I suspect most manufacturers would have formulated the cores similarly for these kinds of pencils. Thank you always for your thoughtful comments :)

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  2. I’ve only ever associated colored pencils with art that it’s fascinating to learn there are pencils designed for writing. I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise. I love that one of them says “also ideal for marking blue prints.” :) Do you use colored pencils often?

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    1. I didn’t use to! I never thought of using colored pencils to write with either, since all the ones I used in school were on the soft side and anyway I was big on colored Hi-Tec C pens in my 20’s. And of course when you move on to fountain pens there are colored inks to play with ;)

      But yes I’ve started to enjoy them more. Also my son is at that age where he draws and colors a lot, and he uses up whatever stuff I don’t manage to :)

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  3. These pencils look great! Thank you for showing. – In connection with the quite hard Staedtler Mars Lumochrom I learned that colour pencils were also used for engineering drawing – maybe the Verithin could be used for the same or a similar purpose.

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    1. Yes, I think so too, for any kind of precise and smudgeproof work I suppose. Vintage ads for the Verithin boast that it is “ideal for checking and writing”, and can “make over 4,000 check marks before it needs resharpening” – so they seem to have been aggressively promoted for office use. They were the red ballpoints of their day!

      (sorry for not providing any links to the ads – I haven’t been able to find something linkable online, I only have privately saved copies of ads that came up for sale on eBay…)

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  4. Go to just about any engineering company, and you’ll find colored pencils in use all day long. Most companies use a system of different colors to mark up drawings, e.g. red to add, blue to delete; using other colors for comments to the designer/draftsperson; some companies pass drawings around to different disciplines, each marking up a print with their own color. Pencils are used, because one engineer might mark something on a drawing, and then the next engineer checking might disagree, so they can get together and erase any erroneous marks before it goes back to drafting (and by drafting, of course, I mean CAD).

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    1. Wow, thank you for this information! How wonderful that colored pencils are still so much in use despite computerization :) I suppose harder ones would be more suitable, do you or your colleagues prefer any one kind (or brand) over another?

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  5. I just lucked up on a beautiful display of these and all of the pencils inside. I am thrilled to have it. I am 57 years old and I have been buying pencils out of this diplay since I was a kid. I got it at my hometown office store which is thankfully still in business. I will send you a photo of it if you would like.

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    1. Hello, Sue, and yes I would be thrilled to have the photo! I will append it to the post. I am so glad the display and pencils went to someone for whom it matters – I often think our love for stationery is in large part nostalgia :) (I will send you an email to confirm my address)

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  6. One of my favourite Christmas presents as a child w a tin of Eagle Verithin coloured pencils. The range of available colours was amazing and they were brilliant for drawing and colouring in

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    1. Wow, I would have loved such a present too! Now that I own a couple of tins of more than the usual 12 colors, I can’t help thinking how awesome it would have been to own something like that as a child. It’s a real luxury.

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