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
- PF335/PF337/PF339 and it’s special lead
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/).
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.