Thursday, January 28, 2010

Turning Point

Once again I find myself late out of the starting blocks and all gaga about something that happened two years ago. Not that I’m closed off and isolated from what’s going on in the world around me, but more like a case of tunnel vision with

a particular product I like, and consequently paying too little attention to what’s new. I use a pencil (a mechanical pencil) throughout much of each and every day, yet for the past three or four years have given almost no thought to ‘mechanical pencils.’ Mine is one of those that works well enough to be always in the background and not very needful of special attention; pick it up, write with it and put it down again. It never fails, and it never ever makes me yearn for a different, or ‘new’ pencil.

It took me awhile to finally acquire that mechanical pencil, and I paid dearly for it, but have never for a moment regretted the money spent. It writes exactly as I want it to, and it simply does not cause problems. In a word, it is 100% dependable, which is exactly what one should expect in a Montblanc Platinum 167 mechanical pencil.

But there is one thing it doesn’t do. It does not automatically rotate the lead. It took Mitsubishi Pencil Co. Ltd. to come up with that.

Scrabbling around on my desk, I found an unfamiliar mechanical pencil and figured someone must have left it on my desk. In the middle of making some notes about something, without thinking I began scribbling on the paper in front of me. In only a couple of lines I had the feeling something about the pencil in my hand was very good. The grip and weight were comfortable, and the lines were spilling out very clearly. Stopping to look, I saw that the pencil was a Uni Kuru Toga 0.5.

Kuru Toga means something like ‘turning point’ in Japanese. The innovation with this mechanical pencil is the internal gear mechanism that automatically counteracts the natural blunting of the lead, by rotating the lead 9° with each contact the pencil makes with the paper. The lead makes a full rotation within forty contacts. This action assures that a clean, cone-shaped tip is maintained, which means a cleaner line. You can actually see the small gear move if you watch through the clear plastic grip.

I could grapple with trying to explain in more detail how this pencil does what it does so well, but a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Take a moment to watch the video below. Pretty much says it all.

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America