I’m back! I’ve returned to the Great White North after a week-plus stint on the Gulf Coast to try and thaw out a little bit, as well as a little bit of a grad-school-induced hiatus from blogging. Anyway, a lack of money and time on my part, combined with an apparent lack of interested in the woodclinched graphite writing instrument on the part of the fine folks of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle, resulted in a net gain of negative-one pencils on this trip. The good news is that I still have a huge backlog on hand to review, including some from last fall’s trip to Spain. Today I decided to break into that stash and sharpen up one of my European finds: the Lyra Robinson, in this case with a 2B-graded core.
Lyra, as you may recall, is a German pencil-maker that produces numerous lines of writing implements, including the previously-reviewed Groove Slim. Their graphite pencils are a little bit hard to come by here in the States — I imagine that being a FILA affiliate, their parent company isn’t trying to steal market share from Dixon Ticonderoga. That makes testing out one of their products a rare treat for me, so today I’m going to jump right in to it. Here we go!
I am back from this year’s overseas adventure! After a little digging around, Spain turned out to be a great place to pick up some pencils. Somehow I managed to get all of these out of the EU and into the USA without some customs agent thinking that I must be some sort of pencil mule running a black market office supply scheme…
It was actually really interesting, because I had an idea of specific pencil makes or models that I expected to find. For the most part, I didn’t. However, I did find a bunch that I didn’t even know existed.
As you can see, the Staedtler Norris is well-represented. I did keep my eyes peeled for that specific pencil, and found it. In a way, it seems to be the Ticonderoga of Spain (and perhaps the rest of Europe) in that it is pretty ubiquitous and most shops seem to have a little display of them at the checkout stand. I did not find some brands I was thinking I would, such as Viarco, Caran d’Ache, etc. However, I did find pencils from many well-known European makers such as Lyra, including specific models I’d never heard of. I also found a few that are specific to Spain. Many are Chinese exports targeted for the Spanish market, but some — like the Alpino Junior which (spoiler alert) I am growing pretty find of — are made in Spain. There are also some that I still haven’t figured out what they are or where they come from.
So, needless to say, there’s lots of fresh fodder for reviews and it should be fun to work my way through them.
Going all the way to Thailand to find a German pencil to bring back to Alaska may seem a bit counterintuitive, but that’s the story of three Groove Slim pencils from Lyra that came into my possession earlier this year. Given the state of globalization, and the fact that many German (and other!) pencil-makers crank out product lines in Asia, I shouldn’t be too surprised, but still yet, it was quite intriguing to come across these pencils in a chaotic Bangkok stationery shop.
With a triangular shape, notched grip barrel, and playful logo, these pencils place an emphasis on ergonomics, probably for students (it even has a space to write your name so your klepto classmates don’t make off with it). Details on the graphite Groove Slim are hard to come by; Lyra’s colored pencil version seems to be a much more prolific product. Nonetheless, I’ve dug up, tested out, and otherwise obtained as much information as possible and done a thorough write-up on these strange and interesting pencils.