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