In this post, I will talk about the P205A and the 9 versions of it that I own.
This, as far as I can tell, is the earliest version of the P205A, released in 1970. The distinctive traits of this pencil, starting from the left are the short 2mm Guide on the tip. It is hard to see, but in the cutout plate, the bottom line reads “P205 JAPAN 3”. This was the only mark identifying the size and part number of the pencil at this time. The next distinction (that carries over to Generation 2) is that there is no text in the area where modern pencils show the size, Pentel and model. The last distinctive feature is the clip, which has Pentel written down the clip, rather than on the wrap-around band. Nothing else is printed on the band.
I got this pencil for my collection back in 2012 from http://stores.ebay.com/ANDREYS-PENCILS. Andrey’s Pencils is a great source for hard to find pencils, and several of mine have come from there over the years.
Along with Generation 1a (which will be covered in the post about P207s), I consider this to be a sub-category of Generation 1. This pencil still has the 2mm Guide on the tip. With this generation, the cutout has dropped the “P205” from the cutout. On the bottom of the pencil, opposite the cutout, the size is printed, in this case, “0.5 m/m”. The clip is the now standard clip with Japan stamped on one side of the band and Pentel on the other, with nothing on the clip itself.
This is a relatively new pencil in my collection. I only received it in the last months of 2016. Before this pencil, I thought that they dropped the “P205” from the cutout only with Generation 2.
Generation 2 (Twins)
The two pencils shown above are both Generation 2. The only difference between them is that one is earlier in the production run when they were still using the 2mm Guide for the tip, and the other one is later, once they switched to the 4mm Guide that is still used today.
The only other change between Generation 1b and Generation 2 that I know of is on the bottom of the pencil (opposite the cutout). They no longer print the size there, it is now molded (it is kind of hard to see in the picture for the 2mm Guide pencil, but the bottom is fairly clear).
I have had the Gen 2 with the 4mm Guide since 2012 (again from Andrey) but purchased the 2mm Guide pencil late last year.
With this generation, the pencil starts to look like what you purchase in the stores now… but not quite.
The pencil still has the molded size on the bottom, but Pentel started printing information on the side where it is currently printed today. The size is printed with the “/” in the m/m, then Pentel and last the model.
I am not sure when I got this pencil, but it was probably before 2012.
The only change to this generation of pencil is that they dropped the molded size off the bottom of the pencil.
With the purchase of this pencil in late 2016, I completed my collection of generations of P205A pencils.
4, wait, no… 5
For a while when I received this pencil in September of 2016, at first I thought this was a counterfeit pencil, but I have come to the conclusion that it is probably a very early production from Generation 5.
When you first look at the pencil, the text makes it look like a Generation 3 or 4, and then looking at the bottom of the pencil and not seeing the molded size, makes it appear from the outside to be a Generation 4, which is why I purchased it, since at that time, that is the only one missing from my collection of P205As.
But, when I received this pencil and took it apart, everything else, said that this is a Generation 5. If you look at the teardown above, the Inner Body is the Crimped Plastic Body with Molded Cap Stop, that was started to be used on Generation 5. In the above picture, looking at a side-by-side comparison of the cap end of the outer body, you can see the difference between the real Gen 4 (bottom) and this one, with this one being thinner walled and not having the beveled edge. Also, looking down the inside of the Outer Body at the retainer, you can see that it has 12 points.
At first I thought someone had printed the older text on a new pencil to make it look older, but I have come to the conclusion that it is probably factory produced before they made the change to the text.
Generation 5 (for real this time)
This is the pencil that started my collection. My dad gave this to me back in the mid-80’s, and I have kept it since then. The only thing I have replaced is the clip, since back then I did not like having it on a pencil I was using. But for collecting, I needed to have it.
Here is where the big changes were made for production streamlining and cost reduction. The outer body is thinner without beveling at the cap end and the retainer (inside the outer body) is now a 12 point vs. the 6 point of Generation 4 and before. The Inner Body has dropped the brass spring rest in favor of a molded body, including a molded in cap stop, which negated having to insert a stop inside the cap. The eraser is still the green Z2-1 that had been used since 1970.
With very minor changes (see Generation 6), this model has been in production for over 30 years, vs. Generations 1-4 being produced for 13-14 years (1970 to 1982 or 1983).
This pencil is the currently produced model and is the basis for all the variations that have been produced since around 2010.
The only changes that I can identify are the cutout now includes a letter in front of the mark. It is a little hard to see in the image above, but it says B35. Another change is that during the production run of this generation, they Inner Body when from a Crimped Plastic Body to a smooth Molded Plastic Body, and they changed the erasers from Green to White, while keeping the same part number (Z2-1).
You can pick up this generation of pencil at just about any office supply store or art supply store.