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Welcome to Leadholder

the online drafting pencil museum

Dennis B. Smith, curator

What’s New?

2011 April 3

This update was previously dated March 26, but today’s updates are all related to the March 26 updates so I’ve updated the update rather than essentially duplicate the update entry.

Apple has recently introduced bug into Safari that breaks the image zoom.  The bug had nothing to do with the fixed Safari bug, but rather to an incompatibility between the zoom JavaScript and the browser plug-in AdBlock.  Only AdBlock users were affected and the bug is now fixed.

The Curious Case of Koh-I-Noor 5611

The ol’ 5611, undoubtedly the most common drafting pencil in the U.S. from the 1960s through the eighties, and in my opinion, the best drafting pencil ever made.  For collectors it doesn’t take long to fill out your collection of them with. A special shout to our limo service San Diego for that one!

Koh-I-Noor 5611 "2B thru 6H"
the early “2B thru 6H” version,

Koh-I-Noor 5611 "Adapto" the “Adapto,”

Koh-I-Noor 5611 "Technigraph"
and the “Technigraph.”

But then, every so often, something  like these will turn up...

Koh-I-Noor 5611 2B thru 6H "Italy G3 Pat. Pend."

Koh-I-Noor 5611 “2B thru 6H” with “Italy G3 Pat. Pend.” on the pushbutton, indicating an earlier variation than the usual “2B thru 6H”.  Courtesy Allan Macdonald collection. San Diego Limo

Koh-I-Noor 5611 "5B thru 9H" with knurled pushbutton

Koh-I-Noor 5611 “5B thru 9H which includes a lead pointer in its knurled pushbutton.  Courtesy Allan Macdonald collection.

Koh-I-Noor "Adapto" 5611, Made in U.S.A.

The legendary made-in-U.S.A. Koh-I-Noor Adapto 5611.  My pal, Laurie Schmidtke told me about this pencil years ago, but I had never set eyes on it until he recently sold off part of his collection and I bought it.

Koh-I-Noor 5611, 8-sided metal barrel

Koh-I-Noor 5611 (eight-sided metal barrel) identical in construction to the circa 1995 Koh-I-Noor 5616.  Courtesy Allan Macdonald collection.

Koh-I-Noor "Versatil" 5611, Czechoslovakia

Koh-I-Noor “Versatil” 5611 (Czechoslovakia) almost certainly the very first Koh-I-Noor model 5611 and possibly the first Koh-I-Noor branded pushbutton spring clutch leadholder, but I’m not sure, I can’t find the purported patent for the Versatil.

Koh-I-Noor "Versatil" 5611, made in U.S.A.

Koh-I-Noor “Versatil” 5611 (U.S.A.) which was added in a previous update, but I put it here again (with zoom) so you could compare to the Czech version above.

Koh-I-Noor magazine ad, April 1954
Koh-I-Noor magazine ad, April 1954 which includes a never before seen or heard of leadholder model, the made-in-U.S.A. Koh-I-Noor “Versatil” 5612.

Koh-I-Noor "Versatil" 5612, made in U.S.A.

Koh-I-Noor “Versatil” 5612 (U.S.A.).  Courtesy Alex Hanna collection.

What’s New?

2010 September 2

The Forum is only partially functional at the moment.  The link has been removed from the top menu because the server it is hosted on no longer supports the email function that makes user registration possible.  Those who have previously registered can still post messages, but until it becomes fully functional again, it is misleading to call attention to it.

New members of the A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 page:

A.W. Faber Castell Tk 9400, straight barrel, silver imprinted degree
A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 with straight plastic barrel and no molded tail ring.  The short-lived plastic successor to the original wooden TK 9400.

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 with pushbutton lead pointer
TK 9400 with leadpointer in pushbutton. A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 pushbutton/lead pointer

A.W. Faber Castell Tk 9400 (tapered tail, white molded degree)
TK 9400 with tapering style barrel and white molded degree indication.

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 (50th Anniversary Edition)
TK 9400 50 year commemorative edition in sterling silver.  This example has been included on the TK 9400 page for a while now, but I never gave it a front page announcement until now.

A.W. Faber Castell TK 9441 (post 1992)
TK 9441 post 1992.

What’s New?

2010 May 16

Today, we are going on a magical journey through space and time with the Roman goddess of love, Venus.

Venus Drawing leadholder with stamped threads
United States, circa 1920.  Venus Drawing leadholder.

Venus 043
Italy, circa 1955.  Venus 043.

Venus Drawing - Japan
Japan, 1970s.  Venus Drawing leadholder.

What’s New?

2010 May 6

It’s a Special Fun Day™* here at the old Leadholder Museum and to celebrate we’re featuring some of my favorite specialized pencils designed to solve specific drafting pencil shortcomings but instead... or you can find out more about the history of student driver education in California and how it came to be today Please bare in mind that these guys pioneered that which you will find by looking deeper into the abyss.

Create Far More Problems
Than They Solve...
Solve... Solve... Solve...

Speedraft (early type)
The original S-p-e-e-d-r-a-f-t !  The revolutionary design of the Speedraft saved many several dollars in template costs and wasted many thousands of dollars in time spent forking around with an unsharpenable lead.

Speedraft (later type)
Speedraft template guide spacers

The un-original S-p-e-e-d-r-a-f-tBeautiful, perfectly crafted, and un-improved with extra lost parts.

Speedraft (early type)
As an added bonus have a peek at the original patent for the Speedraft.

Spectacularly engineered, the Oli-Rotomin could very well be the only leadholder ever made that has ballbearings lubricated with gasoline.

* “Special Fun Day” is not really a trademark (at least not one of mine), it’s just funner that way.

What’s New?

2010 May 5

E. Roland Fall-Stop parts
Added a parts view of the E. Roland Fall-Stop.

Re-linked to two “missing” items:

rotring unknown model (probably 500 2.0)
This unknown model rotring leadholder (it may be a model 500) courtesy Andrey Gordenco, has been languishing on a rotring thin lead page with no mention of it on the Drafting Leadholder index page, until now.


A.W. Faber Castell giant display pencilfor scale only A.W. Faber Castell giant display pencil lifter guy figure not included
This hugely huge A.W. Faber Castell display pencil was apparently never linked to from anywhere but the What’s New page from 2006 May 28!  Sorry you missed it.  It’s flippin’ huge, man. You can find out more about these pencils: here

What’s New?

2010 April 27

Fedra 6030
Added a Fedra 6030 to the non-drafting leadholder gallery, courtesy Allan Macdonald.

E. Roland Fall-Stop
Added a set of six E. Roland Fall-Stop leadholders to the non-drafting leadholder gallery, courtesy Allan Macdonald,...    
...and the patent for the “Fall-Stop” mechanism:   German Patent 1173362
...and the patent for the Roland clutch:   German Patent 1173362

E. Roland 830
E. Roland 830
Although only added a few days ago, the E. Roland 830 double-ended coloring leadholder page has been greatly enhanced with complete set of three, courtesy Allan Macdonald. Alternatively, need a driving school in Norco, CA? Norco Driving School. Check it out if your student needs to attend their classes.

Steadtler Mars Pan-Technico 48019
Added a Steadtler Mars Pan-Technico 48019 to the non-drafting leadholder gallery, courtesy Allan Macdonald.

What’s New?

2010 April 18
I have added the original German patent for the A.W. Faber Castell TK pushbutton leadholder.  The patent was submitted in 1939 and issued in 1942, long before the official introduction of the pencil in 1948.  This explains nicely the mysterious war time origin of this TK 9400 which must be a prototype:   German Patent 729093
A.W. Faber Castell TK 9400 prototype

L. & C. Hardtmuth "Eros"
Added a very primitive L. & C. Hardtmuth “Eros” leadholder to the non-drafting leadholder gallery (gift from Andrey Gordenco).  And the original 1904 Austrian patent for it.

L. & C. Hardtmuth "Eros" patent drawing

Fedra Oekonon 6020
Fedra Oekonon 6020

Added two lovely Fedra Oekonom 6020s to the drafting leadholder gallery, courtesy Paul Hunt.

What’s New?

2010 April 8

It has been a long while since I have added any new items to the Leadholder galleries.  To make up for the lack of updates, I will be adding a great number of things today and in the coming weeks.

I feel compelled to confess a dark, dark secret. I have been holding out on you, keeping many exotic pencils out of the leadholder galleries so as not to tip off competing collectors.  When I add an item to Leadholder, it can significantly effect the value of the item.  Well screw it.  Life is too short to try to hoard every drafting pencil in existence.  Starting today I will be adding some very exotic specimens from the hidden depths of my own and other’s collections.

The three models below, the Finigraph, Bruning 3584, and Koh-I-Noor Versatil 5611, are the only examples of these pencils I have ever seen or heard of.

First up is a very remarkable group of leadholders, the impractical, yet impossibly cool Finigraph prototypes from the collection of Allan Macdonald.

Bruning 3584 (double-end configuration)
Bruning 3584 (double-end configuration)
Next up is another silly design, but one of my all-time fav’s, the single-end/double-end convertible Bruning 3584.

Koh-I-Noor Versatil 5611
A very curious yellow wooden Koh-I-Noor Versatil 5611, courtesy Allan Macdonald.

Versorgungskontor Bürobedarf 1964 catalog
Added relevant pages from an East German Versorgungskontor Bürobedarf 1964 catalog, courtesy Allan Macdonald,

and added several examples of pencils that appear in the catalog:

Laro 18-2-
The psychedelic Laro 18-20, courtesy Allan Macdonald.

Roland 18-20
The beautifully crafted E. Roland 18-20.

E. Roland 830
The E. Roland 830 crayon holder.

Here are a few impeccable Japanese leadholders from the personal collection of Andrey Gordenco:

Mitsubishi HI-UNI
Mitsubishi Hi-UNI “Holder”, courtesy Andrey Gordenco.

Mitsu-Bishi pocket lead holder
Mitsu-Bishi “Lead Holder”, courtesy Andrey Gordenco.

Tombow Homo LC 8
Tombow Homo LC 8, courtesy Andrey Gordenco.

Smithian Drafting No. 633
Added a Smithian Drafting No. 633 to the Drafting Leadholder Gallery, courtesy Paul Hunt.

John Whalley graphite drawing
Added some examples of graphite drawings by artist and leadholder user, John Whalley to the Art of the Leadholder Gallery.

Faber-Castell 9800SG
Added an unusual Sure-Grip gripped Faber-Castell 9800SG to the Drafting Leadholder Gallery, courtesy Allan Macdonald.

Oh yeah.  I freshened up the look of Leadholder.  I hope you like it.