I continue to amass to-review items faster than I can review them (which is exactly how I intend it). Check out the latest additions to the inbox:
You’re looking at several products from Asia, and one from Europe. The Yoobi pencils are an American brand, found in Target, made in Vietnam. Marco and Aishangbi are Chinese brands — Marco relatively well-known, Aishangbi not so much. The Toyo pencil sharpener is made in Japan, and the Bruynzeel pencils are from the Netherlands.
Not long ago, I reviewed India’s Nataraj Bold pencil. In the interest of promoting peaceful coexistence between the countries of the world, I would be remiss if I didn’t also give some press to their neighbor and fellow pencil-producing country: Pakistan.
Uniting over a shared love of pencils may not be enough to stave off the spectre of nuclear war, but Shahsons Ltd. put Pakistan on the pencil map alongside its neighbors in 1953, when the current Director’s grandfather, Shah Saeed, established it as the his homeland’s first pencil manufacturer. Today Shahsons is the manufacturer of several pencil lines and are the flagship writing-instrument producer of its country.
There are many pencils made in China. In fact, something like 50% of the world’s pencils are manufactured there. However, approximately 80% of them are manufactured for export — pencils such as the Dixon Ticonderoga, for example. But if you’ve read my review of the Chung Hwa 101, you know that I’m very curious about Chinese domestic brands. One of those brands is the curiously-named Deli company.
I have a bit of a hypothesis that it’s probably the brands that we in the West have never heard of that make the highest-quality pencils in China. It makes sense to me that those are the products that Chinese people want to buy, and that the random factories churning out shoddy pencils have to resort to exporting no-name products to the big box stores for pennies, because no one there wants to buy their crap. So where do products from Deli fit into all of this? Is the Deli S905 a solid product that we are missing out on here in the States? Or is it a cut-rate excuse for a writing instrument? Or is my hypothesis totally bunk?
In case you hadn’t noticed, I love soft pencils. The smoothness. The darkness. Oh yes. Another thing you may have noticed (or probably will in the near future, if you continue reading this blog) is that I enjoy sampling pencils from every corner of the earth. So when I found out that India’s largest pencil-maker, Hindustan Pencils, is producing a product called the “Bold”, which it markets as being “super black”, you know I was all over that.
India is a country that straddles the line between “developing” and “industrialized”. Their economy is more developed than most of their neighbors, and yet their median quality of life is not on par with most Western countries. All of that is to say, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this product of their pencil industry. Would it be a hidden gem, or a flop? Well, my box of Nataraj Bold pencils finally arrived, so let’s find out.