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.

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My Obsession
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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.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ohto Promate PM-703

When I first saw the Ohto Promate I knew that I just had to have one.  It has classic lines and to me looks like what a drafting pencil should look like.  Long, straight, knurled grip, knurled lead grade indicator, straight tube push button and a nearly squared off tip with a long tube then the 4 mm lead sleeve.  Classic.  Just classic.  But it's not unique in either looks or design.  It has a round barrel while some others it may resemble have hexagon barrels.  However it does have "sisters" in the world of drafting pencils.  While I do not have a Berol RapiDesign 0.3 mm pencil, it has a very similar appearance only the LGI is between the grip and the barrel.

However there is one pencil that could be the Promate's twin, aside from not having a rubber coated plastic barrel.  Instead the Alvin Draft/Matic DM03 has a plastic body.  Otherwise they look identical, as shown by the side-by-side presentation in my post, Two Of a Kind.  They even share limited interchangeability of parts!  If it were not for a few internal differences the 2 pencils could have been produced in the same factory, even on the same machinery.  But it's the differences that make the Ohto Promate it's own pencil and not a "clone".

The Ohto Promate id constructed of a plastic barrel covered in rubber, which happens to be black.  There is a bright metal nut/spacer in the tube that the knurled chromed metal grip/tip screws to.  The inner lead reservoir is a clear plastic and the clutch mechanism is housed in a white translucent plastic.  There is a small spring that supplies the return force to the clutch mechanism that fits between the white housing and the nut spacer which has a short tube that fits inside the grip/tip.  The lead reservoir does not come free of the pencil because the tube the eraser fits in is metal and fits over the lead reservoir. As the reservoir is pulled out the eraser holder hits the part of the nut/spacer inside the body tube.  The push button cap is removed to show the eraser.  The eraser is removed so the reservoir can be filled.  Beneath the eraser is a clean-out-rod.

The appearance of the Promate is very attractive.  Like I wrote above, very classic in design - the contrast of the flat black rubber coated barrel and the silver colored imprinting on the barrel as well as all the chrome plated exterior metal parts reminds me of a Black Tie Social Event, to which the Ohto Promate PM-703 would look right at home.

The pencil is 143 mm long and is 8 mm wide at the widest point, the spacer.  The grip is 7mm wide and 31 mm long (excluding the tip and lead sleeve).  The tip (including the lead sleeve) is 10 mm long.  The balance point is 65 mm from the tip of the pencil.  The pencil weighs 17.3 grams.  For me the diameter of the pencil, is good.  Not to chunky and not to skinny.  Just right.  The weight is good.  It's a light weight pencil which helps make the writing experience that much more pleasant.  The balance is below center making it top heavy, but even if I turn the pencil up side down I can not feel a difference in balance.  The sharp knurling and the rubberized barrel work in concert to help me hold the pencil with minimal effort making the writing experience that much more pleasant.  Add in HB grade lead and a good smooth writing surface and writing with the Ohto Promate feel almost effortless.  I like this as I tend to have a heavy hand and for over 45 years I have been trying to train myself to have a light touch.  Writing with 0.3 mm lead in a lightweight helps me to write with a light touch.

For those of you who like such details, it only takes 2 "clicks" to get enough lead out to write with.  Thereafter a single "click" will advance enough lead as you continue to write or draw.  With so little lead exposed there is very little "wobble" of the lead in the lead sleeve so lead breakage is held to a minimum. 

The 2 drawbacks I can see with the pencil concerns the LGI at the top of the pencil.  In bright light the silver on black letters and numerals are hard to see due to glare.  They are better viewed in a shade or low light or indirect light.  The chromed LGI housing is extremely loose.  Just handling the pencil can cause the LGI to move enough to move off the initial setting.  There doesn't seem to be any way of tightening the housing, so it's just something I have to get used to.

Despite the LGI problems, which are really minor, the Ohto Promate PM-703 is a very good example of a classic drafting pencil.  However the Ohto Promate is no longer made, so if you want one you will have to do an Internet search to find one.


Michael Fryda said...

Interesting. This and the Alvin Draft/Matic seem to be modern versions of the Koh-I-Noor Rapidomatic. Do you happen to have an actual Rapidomatic in your collection? I've been interested in seeing one. I have an Alvin Draft/Matic and its in my Top Ten Pencils. http://wp.me/p4yDvi-jp (Top Ten at bottom of post)

The Old Geezer said...


The Alvin and the Promate share a lot in common. AT first glance and at teardown they appear to be made from the same mold. But parts are not interchangeable. If you follow the link below you can read my review of the Koh-I-Noor Rapidomatic 5633. Click on the pic to se a supper size of the pencil.

Two interesting facts. The interior of the Koh-I-Noor is completely different than either the Alvin or the Promate. It's more like the rOtring 600.

In fact, I'm not sure if rOtring still owns Koh-I-Noor or not but they used to. The 5640 Koh-I-Noor was black and made by rOtring. Very hard to find and you will pay through the nose for one in mint condition, is there is one.

Hope that this helps.


Michael Fryda said...

Internal construction certainly matters. Thank you, Sir!

The Old Geezer said...


Send me your email addy and I will send you some pics of the internal mech of all 3 pencils.


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