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What is an antique mechanical pencil?

A mechanical pencil whose lead can be extended mechanically. Its history is very old, and it seems that it was made in England and France from around the 18th century (late 1700s).

By the way, "mechanical pencil" is Japanese English that is used only in Japan.
Advancement of "SHARP", which later became a major electrical equipment manufacturer, "Hayakawa Brothers Shokai Metal Stationery Manufacturing" developed a "mechanical pencil" and sold it under the name of "mechanical pencil", and it spread.
In English, it is generally called a propelling pencil (UK) or a mechanical pencil (US).

The retractable and very compact type is also called a "magic pencil" and is sized to be used as a pendant or an albert chain fob.
Many of these are very beautiful as crafts, with decorations such as engravings and enamels on silver or gold pen barrels, and natural stones and stickers (seals) attached to the end of the pen. There are many things.


They come in a variety of sizes, from ones that are only about 8cm long even when stretched by 5cm, to ones that are 12cm or longer, the same length as a regular pencil.

antique mechanical pencil

Most of them are made of sterling silver or gold-filled, but there are rare ones made of pure gold such as 9ct or 14ct gold.

antique mechanical pencil

Some pens have a ring clasp attached to the end of the pen so that it can be attached to a chain, or a natural stone is embedded, or a sticker (seal) is attached.

antique mechanical pencil

There are various types of decorations, such as those with fine engravings, those with embedded diamonds, and those with vivid decorations such as enamel.

antique mechanical pencil

As an oddity, there is one that includes not only a push-type pencil but also a dip pen.

antique mechanical pencil


Most modern mechanical pencils are of the retractable type, but the retractable mechanical pencil was invented in Japan in 1960. It belongs to

The video will explain how to extend and retract the pen, how to remove the lead, and how to replace the lead.

How to expand and contract a magic pencil

How to insert and remove the core of the magic pencil

How to replace the core of the magic pencil

extra lead

Today's mechanical pencils generally have a core thickness of 0.5mm, but in this era, a slightly thicker one (about 0.6-1.5mm) was the mainstream.
Moreover, unlike today, the standard was not fixed, so cores of various thicknesses were used.
The accuracy of the pen tip is also low, and there are some that have deformed over the years and are no longer perfectly round.
It is often necessary to adjust the lead to fit each pen.

Currently, 0.7mm, 0.9mm, 1.18mm, 1.3mm, 1.4mm, and 2.0mm thicknesses are relatively easy to obtain even in Japan through online shopping.
If these standard products fit perfectly, there is no problem, but if they do not fit, please adjust the thickness as follows.

① Scrape the core with sandpaper If the core is a little thicker, use water-resistant paper to scrape the core.
Scrape little by little, being careful not to shave too much.

② Gently deform the pen tip with an awl or pliers.If the core is a little thick, insert the awl into the pen tip to widen it a little or return it to a perfect circle.
If the core is a little thin, crush the nib a little and transform it into an oval shape.
If the nib is sterling silver, it is soft and can be damaged even with weak force, so be careful.

③ Apply beeswax, etc. If the core is a little thin, apply beeswax or a vegetable resin called shellac varnish to the core.
It is a way to fit perfectly by adding thickness to the core.


Antique mechanical pencils are not as easy to use as modern mechanical pencils, nor are they comfortable to write with.
It can be quite a struggle to prepare extra wicks and replace wicks.

However, this small writing instrument is not just a tool for writing, but is full of charm as an antique craft, such as a beautiful jewelry-like decoration and an elastic gimmick.

Click here for a product list of our magic pencils