Reife Leistung

Von all den Blei­stif­ten, die ich in den letz­ten Tagen schlauch­ge­schützt und kur­bel­ge­spitzt mit mir geführt und benutzt habe, hat es mir der „No. 9800“ des japa­ni­schen Her­stel­lers Mitsubishi/uni beson­ders angetan.

Mitsubishi 9800

(Bil­der zum Ver­grö­ßern anklicken)

Die Rück­seite der Falt­schach­tel informiert:

Lar­gest Pro­duc­tion Quan­tity in the World
No other pen­cil in the world is pro­du­ced in such a large quan­tity as this. This is proof that the ver­sa­tile Mitsu­bi­shi No. 9800 pen­cil is used by a great many peo­ple around the world.

It has a spe­ci­ally pro­ces­sed smooth lead which lea­ves clear marks. Mitsu­bi­shi No. 9800 is the best pen­cil eit­her for wri­ting or for drafting. 

Ver­glei­chende Zah­len zu Pro­duk­tion und Ver­brei­tungs­grad des 9800 lie­gen mir nicht vor und „spe­ci­ally pro­ces­sed“ sagt mir lei­der gar nichts, doch seine sehr hohe Qua­li­tät kann ich bestä­ti­gen: Mate­rial und Ver­ar­bei­tung sind wirk­lich her­vor­ra­gend, ebenso die Abgabe, die Schwär­zung und die Radier­bar­keit – der 9800 ist ein­fach klasse.

Mitsubishi 9800

Aber es sind nicht in ers­ter Linie seine Qua­li­tät und seine Gebrauchs­ei­gen­schaf­ten, die den 9800 in mei­nen Augen so anspre­chend machen, son­dern seine Gestal­tung, die wohl ganz bewusst alt­mo­disch gehal­ten wurde. Im Gegen­satz zu den meis­ten ande­ren Blei­stif­ten aus aktu­el­ler Pro­duk­tion kommt der in sehr dunk­lem Grün lackierte 9800 ohne Strich­code und EAN, was die gold­far­bene und weiße Bedruckung ins­ge­samt wohl­tu­end auf­ge­räumt und auch vor­nehm wir­ken lässt; allein der Zusatz „GENERAL WRITING“ wirkt nicht so pas­send („MASTER WRITING“ gibt es übri­gens auch).

Mitsubishi 9800

Die Typo­gra­fie emp­finde ich als gelun­gen und geschmack­voll, wobei der gebo­gene Hin­weis auf das Grün­dungs­jahr des Unter­neh­mens und das in Schreib­schrift aus­ge­führte „Matu­red“ wohl­über­legte und gekonnte Akzente dar­stel­len. Bei letz­te­rem bin ich übri­gens ganz der ideale Kon­su­ment: Ich habe über­haupt keine Ahnung, was „Matu­red“ in die­sem Kon­text bedeu­ten soll, finde es aber prima ;-)

Mitsubishi 9800

An dem der Schreib­spitze abge­wand­ten Ende des 9800 war­tet eine kleine Beson­der­heit, und zwar eine schwarze, flach abge­run­dete und sorg­fäl­tig ange­brachte Kunst­stoff­kappe mit weiß auf­ge­druck­tem Här­te­grad; diese erleich­tert die Iden­ti­fi­zie­rung des Stifts.

Mitsubishi 9800

Der in sechs Här­te­gra­den von 2H bis 2B ange­bo­tene Mitsu­bi­shi 9800 kos­tet im Dut­zend 504 Yen (zur Zeit etwa 3,75 Euro) und ist damit zudem sehr preiswert.

Nach­trag vom 26.9.11: Hier heißt es, der 9800 hätte nun einen Strich­code. Schade!

18 Kommentare zu „Reife Leistung“

  1. Even­tu­ell soll das „Matu­red“ spe­zi­ell dar­auf hin­wei­sen, das eben „matu­red wood“ ver­ar­bei­tet wurde, und nicht „scrap wood“, „waste wood“, „juve­nile wood“ oder Zaunslatten. :-)
    Wahr­schein­lich war es frü­her bei Erst­her­stel­lung die­ses Blei­stif­tes noch nicht unbe­dingt üblich aus­ge­wach­sene Bäume zu nutzen.

  2. Nun, der Hin­weis „Matu­red Micro Gra­phite Lead“ auf der Packung lässt mich anneh­men, dass sich „Matu­red“ nicht auf das Holz, son­dern auf den Gra­phit bezieht. Viel­leicht will man damit sagen, dass es sich beim ver­wen­de­ten um „ech­ten“, alten und nicht etwa um syn­the­tisch her­ge­stell­ten Gra­phit han­delt (aber das ist reine Spekulation).

    Apro­pos Zaun­lat­ten: Laut die­ser Quelle (die Du ja schon kennst) hat Mus­grave in den frü­hen Jah­ren Zaun­pfahle aus Zedern­holz für die Pro­duk­tion von Blei­stif­ten wiederverwertet.

  3. Inte­res­t­ing. We have a lot of Mitsu­bi­shi 9800 in Tai­wan, but they do not have the finis­hed and prin­ted butt caps like on yours here–they’re sim­ply cut off and left unfi­nis­hed. It’s pos­si­ble that Tai­wan has mostly old-stock though.

    The 9800 is a very nice pen­cil on the cheap, and the qua­lity of finish, even with the unfi­nis­hed butt-end, is very good for such an inex­pen­sive pen­cil. There are num­e­rous knock­offs of it here in Tai­wan by com­pa­nies like Liberty, but they always lack the qua­lity finis­hing that goes into the Mitsubishi.

    The only real com­plaint I have of the design and typo­gra­phy is that the quote marks in „Mitsu-Bishi“ are both end quotes.

  4. Robert M., thank you for your com­ment and the details from Tai­wan. I wouldn’t be sur­pri­sed if there were dif­fe­rent vari­ants of the same pen­cil depen­ding on the tar­get market.

    You’re right, the lea­ding quote mark is typo­gra­phi­cally incor­rect – I have over­loo­ked that detail.

  5. The dozen (HB) I bought a year or two back from also had unfi­nis­hed end-caps. I think I actually pre­fer them unfi­nis­hed — the black looks a little odd with the green body. These are lovely pen­cils, and I espe­ci­ally like that they have a slightly thi­c­ker dia­me­ter than modern Euro­pean and Ame­ri­can pencils.

  6. You’re right – the cap looks indeed a little odd. Howe­ver, it is an inte­res­t­ing design ele­ment that one doesn’t see very often.

    I won­der if the newer ones with the bar code have a slightly thi­c­ker dia­me­ter too. I wouldn’t be sur­pri­sed if Mitus­bi­shi – like many other manu­fac­tu­r­ers – have deci­ded to cut ten pen­cils from a sand­wich ins­tead of nine (as far as I know this is the com­mon reason for the smal­ler diameter).

    Have you tried the Mitsu­bi­shi 9000? Very good lead, great design, thi­c­ker bar­rel, no bar code :-)

  7. Is the cap pain­ted, or is it a pla­s­tic cap glued on top? From the pho­tos above it appears that it may be a pla­s­tic one. When it comes to pain­ted cap pen­cils, I think Staedt­ler are the only ones who have really mana­ged to do it in a way that I like. The Mitsu­bi­shi Hi-Uni and Tom­bow Mono 100’s pla­s­tic caps are very well done as well.

    The 9800s I have are bar­coded stock (I had to check to be sure), and they’re defi­ni­tely a little bit thi­c­ker than a Faber–Castell or Staedt­ler, so I find them more enjoya­ble to hold. They just feel more sub­stan­tial. The wood mine are made from is more red­dish than the wood in your pho­tos, and smells dif­fe­rent, so I don’t think the ones I have are cedar. Per­haps they swit­ched to ano­ther wood in later pro­duc­tion runs?

    I’ve never come across the Mitsu­bi­shi 9000, but goog­ling them found me a source,, which appears almost iden­ti­cal to (per­haps ano­ther store­front for Bun­doki?). Stran­gely, they have dif­fe­rent stock than both Bun­doki and, so they may actually be a dif­fe­rent com­pany. I’ll have to place an order some time, and get a few of the varie­ties I haven’t pre­viously tried.

  8. I haven’t dis­as­sem­bled a 9800 yet but to me it looks like they have a pla­s­tic cap glued on. – Yes, Staedtler’s way also appeals to me, espe­ci­ally with their Noris 120 – the yellow-black-white-red HB, intro­du­ced in 1963, is a design clas­sic. By the way, I was lucky to see about 40 coun­ter­fei­ted Noris 120 but none of these had that cap with the wavy corner.

    I don’t know which wood Mitsu­bi­shi has used for my 9800, and when it comes to iden­tify wood pro­perly, I am totally lost. It’s just too dif­fi­cult to me, espe­ci­ally in view of all the pos­si­bi­li­ties to treat wood with dye, aroma, waxes etc.

    Regar­ding the 9000: I will be happy to add a few to your package!

  9. I’ve never seen a coun­ter­feit Noris, or even any bla­tant knock-offs, but it seems like a slightly point­less endea­vour con­side­ring its rela­tively low price.  I was always slightly ama­zed that noöne thought to pro­duce coun­ter­feit Everhard–Faber Black­wings though — at $25/pencil that would seem to jus­tify the effort.

    The Noris is “the” pen­cil that comes to mind when I think about lear­ning to write and pri­mary school in gene­ral.  They were (maybe still are?) the stan­dard pen­cil for school use in the UK.  Right up until she reti­red from tea­ching recently my mother would only buy Noris pen­cils and Ras­oplast era­sers for her class.  (Around age eight I defec­ted over to Bic Matic mecha­ni­cal pencils.)

    Iden­ti­fy­ing the wood used is a dif­fi­cult one, because the Tra­di­tion uses cedar and I believe the Noris uses… some­thing else, but they both look the same most of the time (some­ti­mes the Tra­di­tion has dar­ker wood).  I hadn’t really con­side­red that the wood could be dyed or scen­ted to make it more plea­sing, but it makes sense.  I’ve tried seve­ral no-name pen­cils in the office that were defi­ni­tely not made of cedar or any­thing close to it — they were eit­her very pale and hard or pinkish-red and smel­led “soapy”.  I can’t even hazard a guess as to what they were.

    I’d be thril­led to try a 9000.  Thank you!

  10. I assume that the coun­ter­fei­ters just want to bene­fit from the Noris‘ popu­la­rity, maybe also with bet­ter sales for the rest of their pro­ducts in mind. – The price of the Noris is great. Some Ger­man retail­ers offer that pen­cil for about 30 Euro-Cent, and that’s a real snip. By the way: I have recently bought some older Noris 120, with the lar­ger dia­me­ter, the let­te­ring in capi­tals and wit­hout bar code and EAN (defi­ni­tely my favou­rite vari­ant). I assume that they are about 20 years old, and when com­pa­ring the lead of that older Noris with the one of the cur­rent vari­ant I was sur­pri­sed. I have heard that the lead has been impro­ved but I haven’t expec­ted the newer to be so much bet­ter – it is a world of difference.

    Thank you for sha­ring your Noris expe­ri­ence! (Of course I have used that pen­cil in school too.) It is inte­res­t­ing to hear that the Noris has been the stan­dard pen­cil for schools in the UK – I have a UK-made Noris with the imprint „Noris School Pencil“.

    The wood is also trea­ted with waxes and other sub­s­tances so that it can be cut easier (I assume this is the most important reason for tre­at­ment). I have heard that the wood is impreg­na­ted in pres­sure ves­sels but I can’t even pro­vide bitty knowledge.

    Regar­ding the 9000: You’re welcome!

  11. Oh wow – I just che­cked my „vin­tage“ 9800 and it says „Paten­ted“ ins­tead of „Matu­red“!!!! So the imprint did change!! I will send you one later for comparison :)

  12. Oh! That’s inte­res­t­ing. Maybe the patent has expi­red in the mean­time so they had to change the imprint. – Thank you! I am sure I will enjoy the pen­cil and the comparison.

  13. I find it very hard to tell the dif­fe­rence bet­ween the 9800 HB and the Hi-uni HB. Both are very, very good but I have the impres­sion that the Hi-uni gli­des slightly smoot­her and is bet­ter for shad­ing, i. e. allows more grey shades by reac­ting more sen­si­tively to chan­ges in wri­ting pres­sure. Howe­ver, the Hi-uni HB seems to be a tiny bit sof­ter than the 9800 HB, and this could explain these differences.

  14. I recently got my first samples of this pen­cil and, again, seems am late to the party. The cap is no lon­ger there, the bar­code now is. The lovely green paint and gold foi­ling are still here, as are the cou­ple of end quote marks and the asterisk-sided grade in white; cedar got lost along the way too.

    The box design is almost iden­ti­cal, save for a few Japa­nese cha­rac­ters that were added just below the Mitsu script.

    Performance-wise, I truly like the feel of the HB cores. It is smooth wit­hout get­ting waxy and the tonal value is spot on. I like this core bet­ter than that of the 9850 but kind of pre­fer the HB core on Tombow’s 2558. Com­pared to the Hi-Uni HB, I pre­fer the 9800 for wri­ting only. The smooth­ness and gra­phite depo­si­tion on the Hi-Uni are bet­ter sui­ted to dra­wing tasks in my opinion.

    Is this pen­cil still on your fav list?

  15. Thank you for the details on the updated 9800. What do think which kind of wood is used now? My newer 9800s are still made from cedar. – I still like this pen­cil but it is no lon­ger one of my favourites.

  16. I’m no expert at dis­cer­ning wood, but it looks pretty much like the one used on the Mitsu­bi­shi 9000 pen­cils. The 9800EW does have Cedar wood and it looks quite dif­fe­rent in color and tex­ture to the stan­dard 9800.

  17. As far as I know the Mitsu­bi­shi 9000 is made from cedar too. – Wood for pen­cils is trea­ted in dif­fe­rent ways, and this alters colour and scent. Bes­i­des that, there are dif­fe­rent qua­li­ties of cedar, and I wouldn’t be sur­pri­sed if their tex­ture dif­fers at least a bit.

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