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Posted in good design, things we like, tools of the trade by hemmant jha on April 29, 2009

Leica 14320. Tabletop tripod for compact cameras.

Most of my photography can be roughly categorized as street photography [1,  2], and the cameras I use are street shooters [pocketable, high quality, fast] – Ricoh GR21 and Ricoh GR1S. As such, I have no use for tripods. When a stable perch is called for, a coffee cup, a handrail or the edge of table works just fine. In some situations, however, a bit more angular flexibility or tilt can be useful.

Perfectly tailored to just this scenario is the Leica 14320 – rather a long product code for the diminutive tri-footed helper. Needless to say, build quality is beyond reproach – it looks good and works as one would expect. Another product not designed for the landfill – the red dot lives on in style.

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Posted in good design, things we like, tools of the trade by hemmant jha on April 26, 2009

KOH-I-NOOR / Hardtmuth leadholders.

Currently manufactured in the Czech Republic, Koh-i-noor leadholders and drafting equipment are all time classics. Professional level quality and workmanship with robust metal construction throughout means that these are unlikely to break down within a few decades of use. Considerably heavier than the Fixpencil by Caran d’Ache, these are better suited to drafting than to freehand drawing.

Leadholder.com has a wonderful archive of mechanical pencils, particularly drafting pencils. This link will direct you to the L&C Hardtmuth Versatil page, with its history and full range on display.

All said, these are gorgeous pencils – real workman’s tools and desk candy rolled into one, all for the princely sum of $7 at Andrey’s Pencils.

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For more on pens, inks, notebooks and related matters, please visit these posts : tools of the trade.

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Posted in good design, things we like, tools of the trade by hemmant jha on April 24, 2009

Caran d’Ache FIXPENCIL 77.

About the same size, cross-section and weight as a hexagonal wood pencil, the Fixpencil 77 is a unique mechanical pencil.

Leadholder.com has a wonderful archive of mechanical pencils, particularly drafting pencils. This link will direct you to the Fixpencil page, with its history and full range on display.

It fits beautifully and effortlessly in the hand. It is plain in appearance, compared to most other mechanical pencils – not due to the absence of detail, but through the skillful and subtle implementation of essential features. While other pencils emphasize the gripping area with knurled or grooved surfaces, machined finishes, little rubberized bunions and the like, the Fixpencil 77 simply incorporates a textured surface in that area – similar in color to the rest of the pencil. Visually and functionally, it provides grip when you need it, not when you don’t.

The clip is designed so it can be removed from the pencil – removal of the clip does not make the 77 appear incomplete. 

The body is made of aluminum, painted black. The pushbutton is plastic. I’ve owned this particular example since 1994, when it was gifted to me by a friend who had used it for years before. The pushbutton was missing, so a new one was crafted from the metallic end of an automotive spark-plug. The pencil has worked flawlessly, across several continents, for a quarter century and is no worse for wear. The Fixpencil has been in production since 1929.

Perhaps it is this sort of product-making, with emphasis on excellence, that will be the ultimate solution to our problems caused by garbage and junk – I cannot imagine this pencil going into a landfill anytime soon, or even a recycling container.

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For more on pens, inks, notebooks and related matters, please visit these posts : tools of the trade.

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Posted in our work, tools of the trade by hemmant jha on April 24, 2009

penstand.

Designed and fabricated along with the fountain pen for artists, this is a holder for a cherished pen or pencil.

It is machined from a solid slab of aluminum, one and half inches thick [overall dimensions in inches : 9 x 6 x 1.5]. With only 3 precisely angled cuts, the slab becomes a very stable pedestal for writing instruments. The mass of the slab keeps it firmly planted on a work-surface, while the elevated perch raises the chosen writing instrument well above desktop clutter.

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For more on pens, inks, notebooks and related matters, please visit these posts : tools of the trade.

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Posted in good design, things we like, tools of the trade by hemmant jha on April 20, 2009

LAMY T52 fountain pen ink bottle.

In Lamy’s own words, the T52 is ‘an ink basin with ink residue collecting basin and blotting paper roll.’

This somewhat dry, yet precise, description manages to disguise the fact that this is a beautiful bottle that holds marvelous ink. This is a prime example of good design – superbly functional in all the ways it needs to be : a wide mouth closed with a textured and ribbed cap that indicates color, a basin with a little bulge at the bottom that allows one to get to the very last drops of ink, an integrated blotting paper roll. And all this functionality is contained within a remarkably well balanced and austere form.

This is possibly one of the best designed products that Lamy offers. Yet, there’s no mention of the designer on this list. If someone out there has any information on who it might be, please let us know.

Available in blue washable, black, red, turquoise, green and blue-black.

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For more on pens, inks, notebooks and related matters, please visit these posts : tools of the trade.

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