Thursday, August 12, 2010

Alvin Grippy

I visited one of my regular art stores a few weeks ago looking for new Mechanical Pencils to add to my collection. They had some Koh-I-Noor, Staedtler, Alvin and Pentels but didn’t find anything new until my eyes caught a catalog that was on the counter. The front cover had pictures of some art supplies – protractors, brushes and pens but there was also a black mechanical pencil. I eagerly looked more closely to find out if it was the right one for my collection. It was and although the design looked strikingly familiar I got excited when I saw the Alvin logo. I didn’t pay much attention to it and asked the lady at the counter if they have it. She came back in a few minutes after asking her manager and informed me that it was new and will be special ordered. I wrote down my name and phone number on a piece of paper to give my order and they told me that they will be in touch once it has arrived.
I had already forgotten about my order and thought nothing of it for the next couple of weeks. About a month after that, I got a call from a lady who informed me that my Alvin Grippy was already at the store. I went to pick it up a couple of days later. I was again looking at anything new on their pencil display window before I headed to the counter. I smiled a bit when I noticed about a dozen Alvin Grippy on the pencil display area. They must have ordered a dozen and now excluding mine, the rest are now sitting on the display area. I purchased 2 and left the store. I was so excited when I got home that I examined my new pencil thoroughly. I noticed that it was dark blue in color and I was right about the pencil being familiar. I brought out my pencil display case collection and removed the Mephisto Kohinoor and compared it side by side. Except for the brand on the barrel and the color of the band above the grip, they were basically the same pencil. I surmised that either both companies had the same manufacturer for this pencil or one took over the design of the other. I really don’t know.

This pencil is very comfortable to begin with and is one of my favorites for all around writing after using it at the office for a couple of weeks. It has a 4mm non retractable tip which is great for drawing precision lines. An inch of smooth rubber grip provides a fair amount of comfort and grip to your writing. Since the grip is smooth, it doesn’t leave marks on your middle finger like some of the plastic grips. Above the grip is a colored band which indicates lead diameter of either blue or red with silver rings on each side. Mine is blue which indicates .5mm lead while the red band is for .7mm. The Alvin logo and Grippy 0.5mm Japan is written in silver on the dark blue plastic barrel.

It has a wrap around silver metal pocket clip which slides in smoothly in my pocket but since it has a non retractable tip, it’s not pocket safe. Its eraser is that of the twist erase design. I’ve swapped it with the Staedtler Integrity 9505, Kohinoor Mephisto and Papermate Technician. The eraser sticks out by twisting the barrel to the right while holding the top part in place. Although the eraser is thin, it provides an inch of useable eraser and is longer than regular erasers. The lead compartment is accessed by pulling out the twist erase mechanism. The lead advances by simply clicking the top.

Use for – Drafting and general writing.
Like it? – Yes, the diameter and length of the pencil fits perfectly on my hand and the smooth rubber grip feels great when writing.
Design suggestion – Automatic lead advance when writing. Add lead degree indicator on the band.