Welcome To My Thoughts On Pens And Pencils

I will respect your right to disagree with what I have to say about Pens and Pencils as long as you respect the fact that I am an Old Geezer.

My Obsession

My Obsession
A Beauty Every One... And There's More At Home!

All Jammed Up?

If you need detailed instructions on how to clear a lead jam from a mechanical pencil then click this link, "All Jammed Up?" or the link in the pages header.


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. Also please notice that there are four reactions at the bottom of each article. If you find any article funny, interesting, cool or helpful please so indicate. Thank you for visiting my blog.

The Old Geezer
Please Excuse My Absence

I have not blogged since July of 2015 due to the fact that my Lovely Wife was diagnosed with 2 types of cancer. A new case of breast cancer which has metastasized and gone to her bones, mainly her back. She had a mastectomy of her left breast which showed the type of cancer that was in her bones. She has been taking an oral med. every day and she has a port under her skin to receive a liquid med. She has gone through one round of radiation treatments to stop some pain in her back. That gave her GERD and the med for that was nasty tasting. The bone cancer has caused the vertebra in her lower back to pinch her left sciatic nerve causing her pain, numbness and foot drag. She also has skin cancer that has only been partly addressed.

I have been busy taking care of her as the treatments have left her weak and sickly. She can not drive so I have to drive her to her appointments and treatments. I also have to do all the cooking and most of what cleaning we do. So I do not have a lot of time for blogging. However the installment of the review of the Schaeffer Ultrafine 0.3mm pencil marks what I hope will be a new review every month. However some of my future reviews may seem familiar as they may be a review of a pencil or pen that I have reviewed before just in another size due to my limited collection of writing instruments and the economic state of our nation.

I am grateful to George Fox for wanting me to do a review of another one of his pencils. I think that as a reader of my humble blog, may fine of interest as the Schaeffer Ultra Fine is a very unusual pencil.

So please excuse my absence and as a reader of my humble blog I hope that you enjoy the review of this unique pencil.

Coming Soon...

Thank you,

The Old Geezer.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Two Of A Kind?

When I first saw the Alvin Draft/Matic DM03 I wondered just how like the Koh-I-Noor Rapidomatic 5633 it was. Well I was quite surprised to discover that the 2, while looking similar, were entirely two different beasts altogether.

In appearance they differ only slightly: the Koh-I-Noor has a hexagonal body while the Alvin has a round body; the Alvin has a ring between the grip and the body while the Koh-I-Noor does not; the end of the grip/beginning of the end cap and lead sleeve also differ slightly between the two; and the knurling on the grip and lead grade indicator is courser on the Alvin. But aesthetically they are definitely in the same family, if not siblings then kissin' cousins. But internally they are completely different! To see just how different please read my reviews of each pencil at Associated Content. Each is listed in the side bar just below the Alltop badge.

The Koh-I-Noor 5633

While the internal differences were striking the 2 pencils wrote very much alike as they were very close in length, girth and weight. I can't say which one that I like best. It's like having to choose between your two best girlfriends. A very difficult task to say the least. So pretty much the 2 cousins were alone in their close-but-no-cigar designs, snuggled within my pencil case for a while. I saw other pencils that seemed similar to the Koh-I-Noor, the Rotring 500 and 600 among them which is as it should be as they are owned and made by the same parent company. The Kokuyo TZ-PSP 503 is similar but lacks a lead grade indicator. I saw only one that looked like the Alvin, the Berol Rapid Design which has the lead grade indicator between the grip and the body. So I was pretty much satisfied that I had a representative of each design, but longed for the Rotrings (maybe one day). Then I saw the Ohto Promate PM-703.

A discontinued design of unknown (to me) era it looked very much to me like the Alvin, only in black and rubberized. I figured that it was a similar design on the outside with a different interior mechanism. I had learned form my experience with the K0h-I-Noor and Alvin that looks can be deceiving. Well as things would have it I was able to scrape up enough from my meager profits from my Associated Content publications to be able to purchase a copy of the Ohto. It arrived today, all the way from Japan via Russia! (the vendor who had it is in the Russian Republic). Well I wasted no time comparing it to the Alvin... lo and behold it's the Alvin's twin!

If the Koh-I-Noor is the Alvin's kissin' cousin then the Ohto is it's sibling! The differences in appearances are minor indeed. Aside from the color and the fact that the Ohto has a rubberized barrel the major differences in appearances are the fact that the knurling on the Avlin is courser than that on the Ohto and the way that the grips taper to the the lead sleeve. If one did not know that the two were of different makes one could hardly be faulted for thinking that one was just a slightly different model of the other. Both are really great looking pencils (except for the yellow color of the Alvin's barrel) and the stats on them both are almost exactly the same! The differences are minor and not worth mentioning and could be attributed to differences in tolerances if in fact they were of the same manufacturer. They even weight the same! But that's not where the family resemblance stops! Not by a long shot!

As much as the Alvin and the Koh-I-Noor differ on the inside the Alvin and the Ohto are the same. Almost exactly the same. Again the internal differences are so minor that once again they could just be considered different revisions of the same pencil. They are so alike that the parts from each are completely interchangeable with one another! If you were to strip the 2 pencils down to the 3 major components/sub assemblies and mix them all up, hand them to someone who has never seen the pencils before and ask them to reassemble them they would have no trouble assembling 2 complete working pencils despite the fact that both would likely contain parts from each other. Because the mechanisms are so similar they even project lead at the same rate. It takes only 2 clicks to produce enough lead to write with.

Someone else may feel slighted at having bought 2 almost identical pencils, but not me, and not any true pencilholic. It's the slight differences amongst all the sameness between the "twins" that make having them so interesting. As a collector/user and true pencilholic I think it's great finding two pencils from two different Japanese manufacturers that are so much alike! It makes me wonder, did one company clone the other's design (as if that's never happened)? Are the 2 companies owned by the same parent company? Did one designer sell the same design to both companies? Just what is the story behind these 2 pencils? I guess as time allows I'll just have to search the Net and find some answers.

And BTW, did I fail to mention that I really like the design of the "twins"? Well, I do... ;-)


Andrew said...

Thank you for this post! I (apparently) have the Ohto Promate PM-705, although I didn't know it until reading your post. The writing had worn completely away on my pencil, so I've been looking all over to find another, without luck until now.

For some history, I bought the pencil while in engineering school in 1996. It lasted me for every page of notes, every homework assignment, and every test for the remaining 3 years of school. Even after bending the sleeve a couple times and wearing the diamond grip down to semi-smoothness, it still works like a champ. I pulled it out again for my MS in engineering, and it got me through another 2 years of notes and tests. I still call it my lucky pencil.

Now...I can finally get another one, although it looks like I'll have to do without the rubberized barrel. I can't thank you enough for figuring out the Alvin and Ohto are basically the same pencil.

The Old Geezer said...



If you follow the above url you'll find Andrey's Pencils on eBay. He currently has the Promate in 0.3 mm, 0.7 mm and 0.9 mm. If you want a 0.5 mm email him and ask if he'll be getting in any.

The Old Geezer

Nate said...

If you happen to run a across a Berol RapiDesign, you should buy it. They are a nice pencil and fairly uncommon.

Personally I prefer the DraftMatic over the Rapidomatic, though they are both good pencils. The Alvin's lead is cushioned by a spring -- you can push down on it without breaking the lead. The Rapidomatic doesn't hve that feature (at least mine don't).

The Old Geezer said...


Thanks for the 411 on the Berol. I'll have to be on the look out for it.