Posted in P200 Family, Pentel

P200 for BOYS & GIRLS

In November 2016, Pentel Japan released a set of P205 pencils, lead and erasers that were apparently marketed to teens.  There were 5 pencils, 3 lead containers (with Ain 0.5mm HB lead) and 3 block erasers with different bands around them.  As of this blog post, you can still see the release on the Pentel Japan website (http://www.pentel.co.jp/special/7711/ ).

P200 for Boys & Girls

To me, this seemed to be strange marketing material.  As far as I know, this was only released in Japan, but the pictures appear to be of Caucasian teens. I am not sure why they would not use Japanese teens to promote this.

I received my first set of pencils in January 2017, and they immediately went into my display cases.  A couple of months later, I found some sets in a package and purchased them as well.D - P200BGPack - P200 for Boys & Girls 5-Pack (BG-C,S,P,P2,W) - 2096

All of these pencils are the same except for the color and the sticker on them.  They all read on the side “Automatic Pencil P200 0.5     P205”.

P205BG-Cz0195 - P205BG-C (Gen 6) - 346

This pencil is Navy and the barcode is 4902506333957.

P205BG-Sz0194 - P205BG-S (Gen 6) - 350

This pencil is Serenity Blue and the barcode is 4902506333988.

P205BG-Pz0191 - P205BG-P (Gen 6) - 346

This pencil is Coral Pink and the barcode is 4902506333964.

PG205BG-P2z0192 - P205BG-P2 (Gen 6) - 346

This pencil is Baby Pink and the barcode is 4902506333971.

PG205BG-Wz0193 - P205BG-W (Gen 6) - 359

This pencil is Off-White and the barcode is 4902506333995.

 

 

EDIT 2019-12-07 – Updated the individual pictures.  The old ones were hard to tell apart for the P2 & W.

Posted in P200 Family, Pentel

Japanese Older Releases & Oddities

This post is going to be about the P320 series and another couple of oddball numbered pencils.

First I will go over the more common P320 pencils (although they are not that easy to find).  Then I will go over some other P320 pencils and another couple numbered P533.

P323E Generation 4.5 (Italic)P323E (Gen 4.5) - Italic Price - 861

This is the pencil you see when you look up a P323.  It is the standard brown (for 0.3 mm) and the text is the short text (size then model) that is seen on other pencils, except the size is in italic.

I am not sure when, nor from whom I actually acquired this pencil, as I do not find the receipt, but it was probably around 2010.  I do know that it was the first of the pencils in this blog that I got.

P325A Generation 5 (Italic)P325A (Gen 5) - Italic Price - 342

Again this is the pencil you see when you look up this model of pencil.  This pencil I picked up in May of this year along with the P327C.  I picked it up on eBay from a seller, who apparently found several sets of these, as he keeps posting a few of them every month or so.

P327C Generation 5 (Italic)P327C (Gen 5) - Italic Price - 354

This is actually the second of these pencils that I acquired.  The first one was in excellent condition, but did not have the price sticker on it, so when this one showed up on eBay, I bought it (along with the above P325A).

P329G Generation 5 (Italic)P329G (Gen 5) - Italic Price - 357

This completes the set of P320 pencils that are commonly seen when looking these up on the internet.  I never did see this come up on eBay, but another collector asked the above seller if he had any of these and he found a couple and I ended up purchasing this one in June of this year.

P323E Generation 4 (non-Italic)P323E (Gen 4) - Price - 354

This pencil and the following one that I purchased are the only times I have ever seen this style of P323.  This is an older pencil than the above series, as it uses the “/” in the size.  Also, it uses the full standard text with size, Pentel and model, as opposed to the short version (size & model) above.  Also if you see, it has a different style (rounded triangle) price sticker than was used on the pencils above (rectangle).  I am not sure if this has any significance, as the price is the same on all of the pencils in this blog, ¥500.

I purchased this and the one below in September of last year from an eBay seller I have purchased many pencils from.

P323E Generation 4.5 (non-Italic)P323E (Gen 4.5) - Price - 903

This is the next generation of the above pencil, where Pentel dropped the “/” from the size along with other changes to the outer body, but still apparently had stock of the previous generation inner body.

P327A Generation 4.5 (Blank)P327A (Gen 4.5) - Blank Price - 864

I identify this pencil as a P327A because that is what I was told that it was by the seller I mentioned above that I have done business with for years (I purchased this in October 2014). The only identifying information is that it is a 0.7mm tip and inner body, and the sticker on it identifies it as a 0.7mm.

There is nothing to identify it specifically as a P327, other than the sellers information, so it was kind of an ambiguous P200 pencil. In doing other research, I came across a sold listing on eBay for a similar P325A pencil that had no other marking other than the triangular 0.5mm price sticker, and it was from a different seller in a different country.

So with two different sources identifying this style of P320 series, I decided to use that designation for my pencil.

From the pencils above, it looks like there may have been as many as 3 different styles of  the P320 series pencils manufactured over the years.

P533A Generation 4 (Short Text)P533A (Gen 4) - Short Text Price - 324

When I saw these pencils online (and purchased it from the seller mentioned in the last 3 pencils), it was the first, and only, time I have seen this model of pencil. [While writing this post, I decided to look to see if I could find any other information on this pencil, and I found a closed auction on Yahoo Japan for one of these pencils.]

This pencil uses a black body with the modified short text with the bullet, “•”, between the size (using the “/”) and model. It also includes a smaller triangular price sticker.

I purchased this pencil in September 2016.

P533A Generation 4 (Standard Text)P533A (Gen 4) - Price - 333

The only difference between this and the prior pencil is the use of the standard text (size, Pentel & model) and the larger triangular price sticker.

I am almost ashamed to admit that when these two pencils were posted for sale online, I did not immediately pick up on the difference between the two, so I only purchased the one above.  Once I received it, I looked back at the auction for this one, and immediately kicked myself for not ordering it, since at that point it was obvious what the differences were.

In my eBay search, I do look for other sizes of these pencils (P535, P537 & P539), but I do not expect to find them, as this appears to have been a one-off. The 535 designation is used on the Pentel PS535, which is a completely different type of pencil from the P200 family of pencils, and I do not expect that Pentel would make both a P535 and a PS535, if only to avoid confusion.  So this will go down as one of Pentel’s pencil oddities.

************************************************************************************
I try to post this blog every two weeks on Monday, but since the next day this would post is on Christmas day, I am going to delay it until the following Monday, January 1, when I will have two posts going up that day, one of which is a side post related to the Pentel P200 family of pencils.

Posted in P200 Family, Pentel

Retail Packages in the USA, part 1

As part of my collection, I also collect the retail packages, at least from the United States, and a few others.  In this post, I will talk about the P205 and P209 packages, as well as one P207.  In the next post, I will cover the large quantity of P207 packages.

Standard Retail Packages

Blog - Packages 1.1

The above packages are the current (as of 2017) style of packaging for the P205A (P205BP2F-K6), P207C (P207BP2F-K6) & P209G (P209BP2F-K6) pencils.  At this time you can go to just about any store that sells Office Supplies and find one of these packages.

P205 Retail Packages

Blog - Packages 1.2

In 2015, this package (P205BP2F) was released for the 50th anniversary of Pentel America.  This package has the same barcode as the above 2-pack of P205A pencils and came with 2 of those, plus the “FREE Limited Edition Pencil”, a gold colored P205 with black text.  Since it was different from all other P205 pencils, I decided to designate it (at least for my purposes) the P205M-X50 (just tacking on the 50 to mark it as different from the P205M-X gold pencil with white text.

Unfortunately, I only managed to get hold of a couple of these pencils, and they are no longer available in stores.

Blog - Packages 1.3

Released in 2016, these two packages (P205MBP3M and P205MBP3M1) are still available, at least on eBay.  I have never found them in stores, at least not in my area of the US.

The left package contains two P205MNX Metallic Graphite (or sometimes called Antracite) with white text, plus a P205MZX Silver with black text.  The nice thing about these packaged pencils, is that they are also individually labeled with the model number and a barcode, which makes positive identification easy.

The right package contains one each of the P205MBX Red, P205MCX Blue and P205MDX Green pencils, all with white text.  Again, each of these pencils is individually labeled.  What is interesting, is that each of these three pencils were first released in 2012, with a slightly different model number (P205M-BX, P205M-CX and P205M-DX) and different barcodes.  Everything else appears to be exactly the same.

P209 Retail Packages

Blog - Packages 1.4

In the last two weeks, I have found out about a new line of P209 retail packages.  From what I can determine, there are 4 different pencils in the same packaging (P209MBPM).  The above is one of the images I found on eBay.  I know earlier this year, Pentel America released 4 new P209 Metallic pencils (P209M-KX, P209M-NX, P209M-PX & P209M-ZX), but I am not sure if these are the same pencils, just now packaged. I hope to get some of these in the near future to find out.

 

The next blog post will go into the multitudes of P207 retail packaging.

Posted in P200 Family, Pentel

P207C Pencils

Here I will write about the Pentel P207C Blue 0.7mm pencil. This pencil was one of the key pencils in identifying the different generations of pencils in my collection.

Generation 1z0856 - P207C (Gen 1) - Short Tip - 1158

Prior to September 2018, when I acquired this pencil, I had assumed that the oldest version of the P207C was the Generation 1A, since “P205” was molded into the cutout, and they stamped the bottom with the size “0.7 m/m”.  My assumption was that they did that so that there would be no confusion about what size this really was.

Apparently, I was wrong, and they did release the P207C before they started stamping the size on the bottom. This is a very clean pencil that does not look like it ever had anything stamped on the bottom, so I have designated it as a Generation 1.  Plus, it has the initial style clip with the Pentel down the front of the clip and the wrap around sides blank.  I have only seen this on Generation 1 pencils.

Generation 1AP207C (Gen 1a) - Short Tip - 546

This was the first pencil I received with the size printed on the bottom.  It is also, the only Generation 1A pencil that I own, and I have had it since 2012.

When Pentel first released the P205A Black pencil in 1970, they molded the model number (P205) into the cutout.  Apparently when they decided to release the P207 pencil, they did not get the cutout changed out and used the same molds with the blue plastic. Well, this caused a minor problem, since the last digit of the model is the size of the lead, and since the “P205” was still molded in, they had to do something to identify this as a 0.7mm pencil, so they printed the size on the bottom of the pencil, opposite the cutout.

Another difference on this pencil from the modern versions, is that the tip has a 2mm guide pipe, instead of the modern 4mm pipe.

In pencils of Generation 1 to 4, the cap stop (what keeps the cap from pushing the eraser into the Inner Body) was inside the cap, where in Generations 5 and later, they molded the stop as a lip on the Inner Body.  Most of these pencils had a metal piece in the cap (actually the same piece as around the eraser), but this early pencil had a plastic piece inserted as the cap stop.

Generation 1B
P207C (Gen 1b) - Short Tip - 591

At some point they got the cutout changed, removing the “P205”.  They still needed some way to identify the size of the pencil, so they left the size printed on the bottom.

But, as you can see in the picture above, this solution had a problem, in that the printed size would start to get worn off.

This pencil still has the 2mm guide pipe, but the cap stop is now the metal insert.

The reason I chose to make Generations 1A & 1B as sub-category of Generation 1, is that the changes were so minor (adding printed size), and changing a minor plate (removing the P205) in the mold, but not substantially changing it, like they do below.

Generation 2 – Short Tipz0534 - P207C (Gen 2) - Short Tip - 574

In August 2017, again, 2 weeks after the blog, I got this pencil, which confirmed that Pentel did carry the Short Tip over to the Generation 2 pencils for the P207C, just like they did for the P205A pencils.

Generation 2
P207C (Gen 2) - 513

The solution to the printed size getting worn off, would be to mold the size into the body of the pencil.  This necessitated every pencil to now have it’s own mold, where before they could use the same molds.

They also switched to the now standard 4mm guide pipe for the tip.

This pencil and the Generation 1B above were acquired in February 2017 off eBay.

Generation 3
P207C (Gen 3) - 430

I purchased this pencil along with the Generation 1A pencil from Andrey’s Pencils on eBay back in 2012.

At this point, Pentel decided to get the model number back on the pencil, so they started printing the size, Pentel and the model on the side next to the clip.  I suspect that they also changed the ink they used, as I don’t find as many with really worn text (percentage wise) as I did for Generations 1A & 1B.  Another factor may be the protection of the clip.  Being that close to the clip’s band, it holds it off the body a little bit better.

Generation 5
P207C (Gen 5) - 327

Again, picked up off eBay, I got this in October 2016.

It is the first of the “modern” P200 generations, where they made changes to streamline costs and assembly time.

Generation 6P207C (Gen 6) - 321

I don’t remember where I got this pencil, but according to my records it was back in 2009, when I was still collecting mechanical pencils in general, before focusing on the Pentel Sharp.

It is the standard P207 that you can still buy in the stores today, with the letter in the Mark in the Cutout, and shipping with the white Z2-1 eraser.

 

And Now For Something A Little Different
P207C (Gen xx) - Suspect - 782

I purchased this pencil on eBay in 2016.  I cannot remember specifically why I purchased it, but when I got it, everything about it was wrong.

First off, at a glance, it looks like a Generation 5 or 6 pencil from the text printed (does not have the “/” in the mm) on the side, but, it has the molded size on the bottom, which ended with Generation 3, so I thought that someone had taken an old pencil and printed the new style text, but on closer inspection, even this fell apart.

When I took the pencil apart, I saw that the Inner Body does not have the Brass spring rest, and is actually a Generation 5 Inner Body, with the molded cap stop.

On closer inspection of the Outer Body, beyond just the molded size, I saw that it had the letter A in the Mark (in the cutout), which was characteristic of the Generations 2 & 3 (and possibly 4, but I don’t have one to confirm this) P207s. BUT, on the inside of the Outer Body, I found that it has the 12 point retainer of Generations 5 & 6.

So, what it looks like is someone got hold of a Generation 2 or 3 outer mold for the body and an Generation 5 or 6 inner mold for the body and used them to make their own copy of the P207 and printed the modern text on it, then inserted the modern inner mechanism.

I keep this pencil in my collection, just as a reminder that not everything is always as it is represented.

 

EDITS 2019-12-08 – Added the Generation 1 and Generation 2 – Short Tip pencils to this blog.

Posted in P200 Family, Pentel

P203E Pencils

This post will cover the Pentel P203E Brown 0.3mm pencils.  At this moment, I only own 3 distinct versions of this pencil, but I will cover some of others.

Generation 4
P203E (Gen 4) - 312

This is the earliest version of the P203 that I have been able to acquire for my collection.  This pencil has the m/m in the printed text on the side, but does not have anything molded into the bottom (like a Generation 3 would). The cap still has the metal insert that keeps it from pushing the eraser down into the Inner Body.

Generation 4.5
P203E (Gen 4.5) - 906

When I was trying to buy these pencils online, I assumed they were (what I currently call) Generation 5 because of the text on the outer body. It wasn’t until I received them and found that the inner mechanisms all belong to a 4th Generation pencil.

When I was first categorizing my pencils, I called this “Generation 5” (and later generations were 1 step higher) because I had about 11 out of about 175 pencils, so I thought this was a legitimate full Generation.  But I was getting frustrated, because I could not find a “Generation 5” P205A Black pencil.  It wasn’t until at one point, I looked at what pencils comprised this generation and found that (at that time) only 0.3mm and 0.7mm made up this generation, and for the 0.7mm, it was only the smaller run of pencils (not P207s).

I then decided that this must be an intermediary generation to use up existing supplies.  So I changed “Generations 6 and 7” to the current Generations 5 and 6, and since this is a hybrid of Generations 4 and 5, I decided to call it Generation 4.5.

Generation 6
P203E (Gen 6) - 309

I picked this pencil up with the label (model # & barcode) on it as my example of a Generation 6 P203.  It is hard to tell in the individual pictures, but if you look at the image at the top of this post, you can see that this is a slightly darker shade of plastic that makes up the body of this pencil.

Other Generations

I don’t know when the P203E was first introduced, but I suspect it was at least as far back as Generation 2.  On the cover of the German 1975 Catalog (at least that is where I believe this is from), it shows (bottom row, to the left) the 4 standard P200 pencils (at least I think that is Brown, Black, Blue and Yellow) without text on the side.

Pentel of Germany - Catalog 1975 Cover

If this is the case and that is a P203E on the cover, then it was released in at least 1974 as a Generation 2 pencil.  The other 4 P200 family of pencils appear to be Generation 3 with text printed on the side, so 1975 is where I assume that Generation 3 starts.

I also assume that there are Generation 5 P203s out there, but as of the date of this post, I have not found any.  Each time I have tried to get one, it turns out to either be a Generation 4 (I currently have 4 of these), or a Generation 6 (as it is hard to tell in online pictures).

Hopefully in the future, I will have a more complete collection of this model of pencil and will have to update this post.

Posted in P200 Family, Pentel

P205D & P205B Sharp Pencils

In this blog I will go over the P205D Green and P205B Burgandy pencils that I own.

I don’t know when the P205D was first released, but I have back to Generation 3, which places it in the mid-1970’s.  The only image I have of pencils from that era is a 1975 German Pentel Catalog cover, and it does not show up there, but that really doesn’t say anything, since it looks like the P203, P205, P207 & P209 are Generation 2 (no text on the side) on the cover but the other variations are Generation 3.

Pentel of Germany - Catalog 1975 Cover

One thing I have seen in various places around the internet, but have personally never been able to verify, is that originally the P200 Green was a 0.4mm pencil, instead of the current 0.5mm.  It was said to only be available in Japan, but again, I have never seen anything substantial about it (i.e. pictures), only hearsay.  It does make some sense, since Pentel does use green for 0.4 mm pencils even today, for example the Graphgear 1000 (PG1014) and Graphgear 500 (PG514).

P205D Generation 3

P205D (Gen 3)

This is a recent acquisition for my collection, which as I said above, pushes the original release date for this pencil back into the mid-70’s.

This generation is the first to have text printed on the side, but still has the molded size on the bottom.

P205D Generation 4

P205D (Gen 4)

I have had this pencil for a couple of years and up until January of this year, it was the oldest I had found for the P205D.

The only difference between this generation and the previous is they stopped molding the size into the bottom of the pencil.

P205D Generation 5

P205D (Gen 5)

I purchased this off eBay last October.  The hard part of finding the different generation of pencils is that unless you can see the cutout with the mark (as in the picture above), or they remove the cap and you can see a green eraser, it is hard to tell if you are getting a Generation 5 or 6.  Even telling the difference between a Generation 3 and 4 is hard, since most photos concentrate on the text, not the other areas of the pencil.

Again, this is the first generation with the current text on the side, dropping the / in the mm.

P205D Generation 6

P205D (Gen 6)

This is the first of the green P205s that I purchased back in 2009.  This was before I started collecting only P200s, and definitely before I realized the evolution of the pencils.

This model is the current version of the green pencil, as far as I know.

P205B Generation 6

P205B (Gen 6)

I picked this pencil up at the same time as the Gen 6 P205D above. I had just started to collect mechanical pencils in general at that time, but only did so for about a year before I specialized in the P200 Sharp Family.

As far as I know, this is the only generation available for this pencil.

Posted in P200 Family, Pentel

New Display

New counter top display case I just received with a selection of P200 family pencils.  The case was missing one of the trays, but this allows me to display some box sets and collections.

IMG_0667IMG_0668

I also added LED lighting to the display.  I may need to add some more beneath the trays to cut out the shadows and show off the pencils better.

Posted in P200 Family, Pentel

P200, the Second Generation… and the third…and the fourth… and so on

When I first started to collect the P200 bodies, I saw that there were different molds and markings on the pencils.  Along the way, I started to see the commonality and evolution of the pencils.  As my collection grew larger, I started to codify the “Generations” of the pencils, and finally have settled on 6 different generations of P200 bodies, with 2 minor variation and one mixed generation.

I will go over different aspects and changes for each generation: External Body, Clip, Tip, Cap, Eraser, Inner Body.

One caveat; these observations are all based on observations from my pencil collection.

Generation 1 – Starting 1970

Image - Generation 1

This covers the first P205 that was released back in the early 1970’s.

  • Body – The first thing that you notice (as opposed to the current version you see in the store), is that there is no text printed on the pencil at all.  There is the smooth area (where the print goes on later pencils) between the cutout and the clip guide, but it is blank.  In the cutout, it has the standard “Pentel” on the first line, but the second line shows “P205 JAPAN #”, with the # being the Mark.  If you remove the inner body and look inside the body from the cap end to the tip end, you will see a Retainer Socket for the end of the inner body to sit in that has 6 sides.
  • Clip – This is the initial clip that was used and is the same shape as the modern clip, but instead of having printing on the wrap around edges, they are blank, and the clip itself has “Pentel” running down it.
  • Tip – This is the standard shape of the fixed tip, but it only has a 2mm pipe instead of the current 4mm.
  • Cap – The design of the metal cap itself has not changed in all of the generations.  The difference here is that inside the cap is a plastic spacer that fits around the eraser when put on, but hits the edge of the inner body.  This Cap Stop keeps the eraser from being hit by the end of the cap, and pushed into the inner body.
  • Eraser – This generation originally came with a green eraser and had the cleanout pin stuck in the bottom of the eraser.
  • Inner Body – This body is a smooth finish from the eraser section up to the beveled brass cap that the spring rests against.  In front of that is the standard spring and grip mechanism that has not had any significant changes in all the generations.

Generation 1a – Starting about 1970

Image - Generation 1a

I classify this as a Generation 1 subclass, since they are still using the initial molds, which still included the P205 number in the Cutout.  The changes to this generation were probably made due to releasing other sizes of the P200 series of pencils.

  • Body – The only change from Generation 1 is the addition of stamped text to the bottom of the pencil opposite the cutout.  This text is simply the size in millimeters with a “/” between the 2 m’s; i.e. “0.7 m/m” for the P207, although that number is not anywhere to be found on the pencil at this point.
  • Clip – On my example, they have already switched over to the standard clip with nothing on the clip itself and “Japan” on left wraparound and “Pentel” on right wraparound.
  • Tip – No change: the tip is still a 2mm pipe.
  • Cap – No change. This still has the plastic insert inside the metal cap.
  • Eraser – Green with cleanout pin.
  • Inner Body – Substantially, no change.  The only one I have of this sub-generation is a P207C, and they molded the Inner Body  in blue plastic instead of black.

Generation 1b – Starting about 1970

Image - Generation 1b

This is another Generation 1 subclass, as the only major change to it from Generation 1a, is that they no longer have the “P205” in the cutout.

  • Body – As I stated above, the change representing this sub-generation is dropping the “P205” from the cutout.  It now just reads “JAPAN #” with the # being the mark.
  • Clip – As above, now using the “Standard” clip.
  • Tip – Still using the 2mm pipe on the smaller sizes, but the all most of the P209’s I have, have the standard 4mm pipe that the 0.9mm pencils all have.
  • Cap – This is the other area with a change.  They started replacing the plastic insert inside the cap with a metal insert that is also used around the eraser.
  • Eraser – Green with or without cleanout pin.
  • Inner Body – No change, except they are all black plastic.

[EDIT: On April 10, 2017, I received a P209G Generation 1b pencil that has a 2mm pipe on the tip]

Generation 2 – Starting between 1971-1972 as a best guess

Image - Generation 2

This is the first major change to the P200 family.

  • Body – Here is where the major change happens that defines this generation.  At this point, there is still nothing printed on the side of the pencil.  The change is that Pentel stopped printing the size on the bottom of the pencil and the size is now molded into the bottom in the same location.  Retainer Socket with 6 sides on the inside.
  • Clip – Standard Clip
  • Tip – All pencils are now starting to use the fixed 4mm pipe.  I have one example that still uses the 2mm pipe.
  • Cap – All caps now have the metal insert inside that stops the cap from sliding down too far.
  • Eraser – Green with or without cleanout pin.
  • Inner Body – They all still have the smooth plastic body, but some are starting a changeover from the beveled brass  spring base to a flat brass base that is crimped into the plastic body.

Generation 3 – Starting about 1975

Image - Generation 3

The change that defines this generation is that Pentel started to print size and model number on the sides of the pencils.

Pentel of Germany - Catalog 1975 Cover

At this point, it looks like Pentel started to release other models of pencils based on the P200 family, such as the PS315 and the PF330 series.  This information and the date are from the cover of a 1975 German Pentel catalog that shows the P200 series still looking like Generation 2 (without print on the side), alongside the PS315 & PF330 series that now show printing on the side.

  • External Body – The mold is still the same for the pencils, with the size molded into the bottom, but now with the addition of the printing on the side with the size (with “m/m”) and model number.  Some of the pencils also print Pentel there as well.  Retainer Socket with 6 sides on the inside.
  • Clip – Standard Clip
  • Tip – The P200 series still uses the 4mm fixed pipe, but Pentel has now introduced the Sliding Sleeve that is used on some pencils.  It slides between 3mm and 5mm and will slide in as you write.
  • Cap – Standard cap with metal insert
  • Eraser – Green with or without cleanout pin.
  • Inner Body – Smooth plastic side with a mixture of the beveled brass and flat brass crimped base.

Generation 4 – Probably starting in the late 70’s

Image - Generation 4

For this generation, Pentel dropped the molding of the size from the bottom of the pencils.

I don’t have a particular date that this started, but this generation went up to at least 1982, as that copy of the catalog still shows the m/m text on the pencils.

  • External Body – Pentel removed the molded size information from the bottom of the pencils, probably to save a bit of money on plastic, since they now print the size on the side.  The same text as generation 3 is printed on the side.  Retainer Socket with 6 sides on the inside.
  • Clip – Standard Clip
  • Tip – Standard fixed 4mm pipe and sliding 3-5mm pipe.
  • Cap – Standard cap with metal insert.
  • Eraser – Green with or without cleanout pin.
  • Inner Body – Smooth plastic side with a mixture of the beveled brass, crimped flat brass and press-fit flat brass bases.

Generation 5 – Starting 1983 or 1984

Image - Generation 5

This generation is where the major changes were made to the External and Inner Bodies.

Dating for the start of this generation comes from the 1982 and 1984 catalogs.  In the 1982 catalog, they still show the Generation 4 pencils with the “m/m”, but in the 1984 catalog, they have changed to the now standard “mm”.

  • External Body – This was a major redesign of the pencil.  Most obviously is the text where they dropped the “/” in the millimeter mark going from “m/m” to “mm”, probably to save ink.  Less obvious, unless compared side by side is that the thickness of the wall of the body is thinner, again probably to save money on plastic.  Another change on the inside is the Retainer Socket is now a 12 point star.  This was probably done to make it easier to seat the inner body during assembly, and thus save time (which equals money).  The cutout still reads “Pentel” on line 1 and “JAPAN ##” on line 2 with ## being an ID mark, the same as it has been since Generation 1b.
  • Clip – Same Standard Clip
  • Tip – Same standard fixed 4mm pipe and sliding 3-5mm pipe.
  • Cap – Here is a change associated with the change to the inner body.  Since production began on the P200 family, the Cap Stop has been inside the cap, being either a metal insert or initially a plastic insert.  This insert would “Stop” the cap from sliding in too far and pushing the eraser into the inner body.  With generation 5, this insert was removed, which takes a step out of the production process, again saving time and material costs.  The Cap Stop has now been shifted to the Inner Body.
  • Eraser – Green with or without cleanout pin.
  • Inner Body – There are two major changes to the inner body with this generation.  At the tip end, the brass base has been removed, and the clutch tip is directly molded and crimped into the body.  Then next change is on the eraser end, where there is now a molded lip that the cap “Stops” on.

My assumption is that all of these changes were made to either save material (ink, plastic, metal insert) or time (12 point vs 6 point Retainer Socket, no longer inserting the metal insert into the cap), which would cut down on costs to manufacture the pencil.

Generation 4.5 – Starting 1983 or 1984 – Concurrent with Generation 5

Image - Generation 4_5

This generation is out of order, so that you see the changes that were introduced in Generation 5 before seeing this mixed generation.

When Pentel made the changeover to Generation 5, from what I can see they made the production cutover based on the 0.5mm & 0.9mm stock.  What I mean by this is they had supplies to run up through the end of a year for the 0.5mm & 0.9mm and the next year started with Generation 5 for these sizes.  But, they still had lots of Inner Bodies for the 0.3mm and some for the 0.7mm.  So the 0.5mm and 0.9mm went straight to Gen 5, the 0.3mm went with the Gen 5 External Body, but the Gen 4 Internal Body.  For the 0.7mm, they apparently had less stock of the Internal Bodies, so moved those to the smaller run pencils (P327 & PF337) and ran the P207 with the full Gen 5 bodies (External and Inner).

EDIT: On 5/13/2017, I received a P209G pencil that was a Generation 4.5, so at this point, it looks like the cutover was based solely on the 0.5mm pencil stock.

  • External Body – (Gen 5) Text uses the “mm” for millimeter.  Wall of the pencil is thinner and it has the 12 point Retainer Socket.
  • Clip – Same Standard Clip
  • Tip – Same standard fixed 4mm pipe and sliding 3-5mm pipe.
  • Cap – (Gen 4) Standard Cap with metal insert.
  • Eraser – Green with or without cleanout pin.
  • Inner Body (Gen 4) – Smooth plastic side with the crimped flat brass bases.

Generation 6 – Starting 1992 to 1994 up to now

Image - Generation 6

One minor change and a relatively major change define this generation.

I do not have any information on when the change was made for this generation.  If I could find a catalog that shows the changeover from the green erasers to white erasers, that would be what I would define as the date of change.

  • External Body – The minor change to the external body is in the cutout where the second line now reads “JAPAN A##”, where A## is the mark with A being a letter and ## being a digit.  Retainer Socket is still 12 point.
  • Clip – Same Standard Clip
  • Tip – Same standard fixed 4mm pipe and sliding 3-5mm pipe.
  • Cap – Standard Cap without any insert.
  • Eraser – Pentel changed to a white eraser with this generation.  Few pencils come with cleanout pins.
  • Inner Body – The only real change here is that the attachment to the clutch tip is now molded without crimping for the most part.

[Edited on May 23, 2017 to add notes about the Generation 1b P209G with a 2mm tip and the Generation 4.5 P209G]
[Edited on August 27, 2018 to fix start date for Generation 6.  I have catalogs that show the different generations from 1991 (Generation 5) and 1994 (Generation 6), based on the change to the replacement Z2-1 erasers in the catalogs.]

Posted in P200 Family, Pentel

P200 Family Components

In this blog, I was going to talk about the six “Generations” of the P200 Family, but as I was writing it, I found I was having to do too much duplication due to descriptions of the 6 components of the pencils.  So I decided that I needed to write about the components themselves.

In all cases, these descriptions and examples are what I have seen in my collection.  I’m sure there may be others that I have not found.

Body

Body Top, showing cutoutImage - Component 1 Top

Body Bottom, showing printed and molded sizes

Image - Component 1 Bottom

Differences between Gen 1-4 & Gen 5-6 body thickness

Image - Component 1 Thickness

Inner Body Retainer Slot Differences (looking from eraser end into the barrel)

Image - Component 1 Retainer

The first component that’s generally noticed is the Body (or Outer Body).  This is the primary component for determining generations. There are 6 different iterations of the Body, with a couple of minor variations.

First off, let’s look at what’s common on all versions of the Body.  All of these Bodies consist of 12 sides with 2 of the sides combined down the middle length of the pencil (this is where the normal text appears on most of the pencils).  Also, at the writing end, there are a series of 11 rings around the pencil to provide some grip, and a ridge right at the connection to the tip. They all have a slot cut out for the clip to fit into and stay in relatively the same place, although there is some play to this.  There is also a “Cutout” that changes from pencil to pencil and through generations.  All of these pencils have 2 lines of text on them, with the first line always (at least as far as I have found) being “Pentel”.  The specifics of the text of the second line help define the iterations of the pencil.

Now to take a look at the changes that define the iterations of the Body.

Body 1

In the original Body, aside from the Cutout, there is no text on the body to identify the pencil.  The second line of the Cutout says “P205 JAPAN #”, with the # being the Mark.  I suspect the Mark is the mold number, but I don’t know for sure.  Looking inside the barrel from the eraser end to the tip end, you can see a “Retainer” slot with 6 corners that the Inner Body fits into to keep it from turning.

Body 1a

This body is just a minor variation of Body 1.  The only difference here is that on the bottom of the pencil, opposite the Cutout, is printed text defining the size of the lead, for example “0.7 m/m”.  The Cutout still reads P205, even though in this example, it is a 0.7 m/m.  This probably occurred in trying to get the other sizes to market before they redesigned the Cutout plate.

Body 1b

This iteration, is the same as 1a, with the size printed on the bottom, but by this point, they have redesigned the cutout to remove the “P205” from the mold.

Body 2

The change defining this body is that they removed the printed text from the bottom of the pencil, and it is now incorporated into the mold, so the “0.5m/m” is now raised print on the bottom of the pencil.

Body 3

This is where Pentel started to print on the side of the pencil in the area with the 2 combined sides.  The size is listed as “0.5m/m” with the text on the side varying by pencil series.

Body 4

The change here is that Pentel removed the molded size from the bottom of the pencil.  The text on the side generally remained the same, still using the “m/m” to denote millimeters.

Body 5

This was the first major revision of the body.  At the very least they have a new inner mold for the pencil, since the wall of the body is now thinner and the “Retainer” slot now has 12 corners, making it quicker to seat the Inner Body.  The text on the side of the pencil has now dropped the “/” in the millimeter and now reads “0.5 mm” along with the other identifiers.

Body 6

To the best of my knowledge, this is the current body of the pencils.  The only difference I have found is the inclusion of a letter before the numbers in the Mark in the Cutout.  Of my pencils, 95% of them start with a B, with the other letters being K or P.  All of the Limited Edition colors released after 2010 are of this body type.

Tip

Image - Component 2.jpg

The tip of the P200 family has 2 basic types: the fixed tip, and the sliding sleeve.  I will address these tips by size, as there are different variants for most of them.

0.3 mm

This size only has 2 variants that I have identified.

  • 0.3 Fixed 4mm – this is the standard fixed tip with the 4mm guide.
  • 0.3 Sliding Sleeve – this is the sliding sleeve with the guide that slides between 3mm & 5mm.

0.5mm

The 0.5mm has the most variations of the tip for the P200 family.

  • 0.5 Fixed 2mm – this was the original fixed tip that only had a 2mm guide.
  • 0.5 Fixed 4mm – this is the standard fixed tip with the 4mm guide.
  • 0.5 Gold 4mm – this is the standard 4mm fixed tip with gold colored plating.
  • 0.5 Sliding Sleeve – this is the sliding sleeve with the guide that slides between 3mm & 5mm.

0.7mm

The 0.7mm has almost as many variants as the 0.5mm.

  • 0.7 Fixed 2mm – this was the original fixed tip that had a 2mm guide.
  • 0.7 Fixed 4mm – this is the standard fixed tip with the 4mm guide.
  • 0.7 Sliding Sleeve – this is the sliding sleeve with the guide that slides between 3mm & 5mm.

0.9mm

There is only one tip two tips that I have identified for the 0.9mm.

  • 0.9 Fixed 4mm – this is the only size for the 0.9mm.  It has the standard 4mm guide.
  • 0.9 Fixed 2mm – As of April 10, 2017, I have in my hand a pencil with this tip.

Clip

Image - Component 3

The clip on the P200 family comes off the pencil and rests in a channel that is molded into the body.  Holding the pencil with the tip down, the clip should rest just to the left of the print area, lining up with the cutout.

There have been a few variations of the clip.  I will describe the ones I know of below.

Standard Clip

This is the clip that’s on all of the P203/P205/P207/P209 bodies that are sold in retail and on 90% of the pencils I have.  This type of clip is sometimes referred to as a Deep Carry clip, since the clip comes out of the top of the band and thus sits deeper in a pocket.

Looking at the clip (with the tip down) straight on, the top of the clip portion looks like an arrow pointed down.  On the band that holds the clip to the pencil, it says JAPAN on the left side and Pentel on the right.

A variant of this clip with a gold color was used on the Limited Edition Gilded Series P205’s that were released in 2016.

Initial Clip

The standard clip is not the clip that was initially used on the first generation of P205 released.  The shape of the clip is the same, just the text is laid out differently.

Initially, the band did not have any printing on it at all, and the word Pentel ran down the front of the clip.

Short Carry Clip

This clip is a different layout from all of the above clips.  The text on the band is the same as the standard clip (JAPAN / Pentel), but the clip comes out the bottom of the band, which makes the pencil sit with a shorter distance from the tip to where it would rest in a pocket (thus the Short Carry vs Deep Carry).  As far as I know this clip was only used on some of the P215/P217/P219 bodies.

Cap

Image - Component 4

The cap of the pencil has not changed since 1970, when it was first introduced, other than the gold color on the Gilded Series P205’s.  It is a single piece of metal that is press molded to form the cavity, and has an indention on one side that helps it grip and stay on the Inner Body.

The differences come in what I call the Cap Stop and how it relates to the Inner Body.  The Cap Stop is what keeps the cap from pushing down on the eraser and down into the Inner Body where you can’t get it out.

When the P200 family was first released, the Cap Stop was in the top of the cap.  When initially released, the Cap Stop in the cap was a plastic band that fit inside the cap and when pushed to advance the lead, would rest on the top of the Inner Body, keeping the eraser from being pushed down into the Inner Body.

After the initial release, a change was made to use a metal band in the cap for the same purpose.  This metal band is the same band that goes around the eraser.

Later versions of the pencil did away with the Cap Stop in the cap, and now molded it into the Inner Body.  These caps do not have anything inside them, but are otherwise the same design.

Eraser

Image - Component 5

For around 30 years, the eraser in the P200 family was green.  In the early 2000’s for the latest design change, Pentel made the decision to change to a white eraser.

The only variation from this, is not actually an eraser.  The PF335/PF337/PF339 pencils were designed with a special lead to write on film, and this would not work with an eraser, so these just have a rubber stopper.

One additional thing about the 0.3mm and 0.5mm pencils, is that some of them came with a cleanout pin that was stuck into the bottom of the eraser.  With one exception (a PF337 with rubber stopper), I don’t have any 0.7mm or 0.9mm pencils with this pin.

Inner Body

Image - Component 6 - Full

Image - Component 6 - Detail

The Inner Body of the has changed incrementally over the lifetime of the P200 family.  There have been 5 basic versions, with some minor variations; mostly color of the barrel.  There are two areas that define these versions; the point where the spring meets the barrel, and the open end of the barrel.

Inner Body 1 – Beveled Brass Cap

The front of the body where the spring sits is a brass cap that is beveled.  The barrel is smooth from the front to the other end where the eraser fits.

Inner Body 2 – Crimped Flat Brass Cap

The front of the body of this version also has a brass cap, but it is flat.  Where it joins the barrel, the barrel is crimped.  The rest of the barrel is smooth all the way to the back.

Inner Body 3 – Flat Brass Cap

The only major difference between this body and Inner Body 2, is that it is not crimped.  Like Inner Body 1, the brass cap is press-fit into the barrel.

Inner Body 4 – Crimped Plastic Body with Molded Cap Stop

This is the first major revision of the Inner Body.  The brass cap is no longer used, and the feed tube is crimped into the plastic body.  The spring also rests on a narrow body of plastic that then enlarges to the main barrel.  This barrel tapers from about 5.15mm to about 6.25mm at a lip that is 12.25mm from the end of the barrel, which is the new Cap Stop.  After this lip, the barrel is about 5.85mm tapering down to about 5.65mm, allowing the cap to easily slide on and stop.

Inner Body 5 – Molded Plastic Body with Molded Cap Stop

The only difference between this Inner Body and Inner Body 4 is that the feed tube is now molded into the body, not crimped.  Again, the barrel tapers up to a Cap Stop, then a narrower section for the cap to rest in.

[Edited on April 16, 2017 to add note about the 0.9mm Tip with a 2mm Guide]

Posted in P200 Family, Pentel

P200 Sharp Family

Over the years, I have collected various mechanical pencils and have a large collection of different brands and models, from the standard Pentels, Pilots and Staedtlers to lesser known (at least in the U.S.A.) Rotrings, TWSBIs and Tombows.  I finally narrowed my collection down to the first mechanical pencil I owned, the Pentel P205 and the various P200 body styles.

I received my first P205 from my dad when I was in high school back in the mid-80’s and I still have it.  I also inherited another P200 body from my dad later on, a PF335 designed to write on film stock (at least the lead was).

In this series of blogs, I intend to go over the various aspects of the P200 series (generations and colors), and into the specifics of some of the pencils I have.

Some of the models I will cover are:

  • P203/P205/P207/P209 – The basics
  • P215/P217/P219
  • P303S/P305S
  • P323/P325/P327/P329
  • P533
  • PF335/PF337/PF339 and it’s special lead
  • PS315/PS523

One thing I have noticed is for years, 0.5mm has been the defacto standard for lead size, and in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the P205 in 2010, Pentel started putting out limited edition P205s in Marble, and a couple of different Metallic lines.  Starting in late 2015, and into 2016, they have been putting out limited edition metallic colors for the P207.  A larger point size as the standard seems to be a trend in recent years especially in pens (listening to my wife rant about it), but I still like the thinner 0.5mm.

Now, the colors I talked about above are what are or were readily available in the United States via retail store, eBay or Amazon.  There are other colors available in other countries that are not available to us in the US.

In Singapore, there are 5 color variations of the P205 (https://www.pentel.com.sg/products/autimaticpencil/p200.html), two of which (Pink and White) are also available in Canada.

In Brazil, they have 3 neon variations available in P205, P207 & P209, as well as 7 colors that are available in P203, P205, P207 & P209 (http://www.pentel.com.br/produtos/lapiseiras/sharp-p200).  I am sure there are other colors and variants available elsewhere in the world that I have not found yet.  There are also special edition pencils, such as the Limitada Brasil collection released for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Switzerland has two different series of P205 pencils, the Neon collection (http://www.pentelshop.ch/p/druckbleistift-p200-0-5mm-fluo-limited-edition) and the Vintage collection (http://www.pentelshop.ch/p/druckbleistift-p200-0-5mm-vintage-limited-edition).

In late 2016, Pentel Japan released the P200 for BOYS & GIRLS (http://www.pentel.co.jp/special/7711/).

TERMINOLOGY

Cap Stop – This is the design feature that keeps the end of the cap from pushing all the way down to the Inner Body and pushing the eraser in too deep.

Cutout – The lowered imprinted area covering 2 sides of the pencil just behind the grip area.

Family – This term covers all of the pencils that share the same shape, internal mechanism and clip (given minor changes over generations).

Fixed Tip – This is a Pipe or Guide that is fixed in length and does not move, such as the standard Fixed 4mm Tip.

Mark – The bottom right most number or letter and number in the Cutout, usually following the word “JAPAN”.  I am not sure if this is a mold number or some other identifier, so I just use the term Mark.

Pipe or Guide or Sleeve – This is the section of the tip that the lead comes out of.  In drafting pencils such as the P200 series, it is designed so that the tip of the pencil does not interfere with your view of what you are working on, and allows the pencil to be used with a straight edge without breaking the lead.  They are usually designated by length, such as a 2mm Guide.

Retainer – This is inside the External Body at the end where the Inner Body pushes against.  If you take the pencil apart and look inside (from the eraser end), you will see either a 6-sided hex, or a 12-pointed star at the end that the Inner Body’s hex shape locks into.  This would be analogous to a wrench socket to the Inner Body’s bolt head.

Series – This is the group of pencils that share a common numbering.  For example, the P200 Series includes all pencils whose numbers are P20# (with # being the mm designator), and would indicate the P203 / P205 / P207 / P209 pencils.

Sliding Sleeve – This is a Guide or Sleeve that will slide up into the pencil tip while you are writing, allowing a longer time between clicking out lead.