Die Geschichte des als „Gra­nate“ bekann­ten Hand­spit­zers, der seit knapp 90 Jah­ren von Möbius+Ruppert her­ge­stellt wird1, lässt sich bis 1892 zurück­ver­fol­gen2. Die Form hat sich über die Jahre nur wenig geän­dert3, wohl aber das Mes­ser und seine Befes­ti­gung; der kürz­li­che Fund von zwei alten Vari­an­ten bie­tet die Gele­gen­heit für einen Vergleich.


Bis in die 1950er Jahre hin­ein wurde das Mes­ser durch eine Rän­del­schraube und zwei Stifte gehal­ten. Um 1960 herum löste eine Schlitz­schraube aus Mes­sing die Rän­del­schraube ab (links); dies behielt man bis in die frü­hen 1970er Jahre bei. Dann fie­len die bei­den Stifte weg4 und ein paar Jahre spä­ter legte man das nun anders geformte Mes­ser in ein Mes­ser­bett, um es gegen Ver­dre­hen zu sichern (Mitte). In die­ser Zeit – viel­leicht sogar schon etwas frü­her – wurde die „Gra­nate“ auch einen Mil­li­me­ter kür­zer. Als letzte Ände­rung ersetzte man in den 1980er Jah­ren die im Haus gefer­tigte Schlitz­schraube durch eine aus kal­tem Draht gepresste und zum Schutz vor Rost gal­va­ni­sierte Kreuz­schlitz­schraube (rechts).

  1. Die­ser Spit­zer war in den ers­ten Jahr­zehn­ten des letz­ten Jahr­hun­derts auch als „Gra­nate 5“ im Sor­ti­ment der Ver­triebs­firma Möl­ler & Breit­scheid, doch wer diese Vari­ante gefer­tigt hat, konnte ich bis jetzt nicht her­aus­fin­den (Möbius+Ruppert war es nicht).
  2. Dem „Hand­buch für Papier und Büro­be­darf“ von 1949 zufolge kam die „Gra­nate“ um 1889 in den Han­del, doch dafür habe ich noch keine Bestä­ti­gung fin­den kön­nen.
  3. Hin und wie­der sieht man die „Gra­nate“ mit drei statt der vier typi­schen Rän­de­lun­gen; dies ist die heute nicht mehr erhält­li­che Aus­füh­rung für dicke Stifte.
  4. Quelle: Kata­log des Jah­res 1975 von Möbius+Ruppert. – Diese Vari­ante habe ich lei­der nicht; ich wüsste zu gerne, wie das Mes­ser in Posi­tion gehal­ten wurde.

20 Kommentare zu „Generationentreffen“

  1. Thanks, Gun­ther! In search of the miss­ing link (note – 4) now. It is like stu­dy­ing early fos­sils. So fasci­na­ting. Can you guess what the next ver­sion will look like? Simp­ler, other mate­rial? Eco-brass? Ano­ther metal, Stain­less steel? Or do you con­sider Cas­tor and Pol­lux part of this ‘evo­lu­tion’ pro­cess? How about a pre­dic­tion .. you are the expert!

  2. I’m happy you like it too, Wow­ter! Yes, I am still loo­king for this vari­ant which I call the third gene­ra­tion and of which I only have a pic­ture from a 1975 catalogue.

    Granate, 3. Generation (1975)

    I would like to know how the knife was secu­red against twis­ting because there are neither the old pins nor the new recess. Howe­ver, I do not want to exclude the pos­si­bi­lity that the vari­ant offe­red at that time dif­fe­red from this repre­sen­ta­tion. Back then, they didn’t have the pho­to­rea­li­stic pos­si­bi­li­ties that we have today but they might have pho­to­gra­phed a pro­to­type or an unfi­nis­hed shar­pe­ner for the cata­lo­gue (which could well mean that the vari­ant shown in the cata­lo­gue never exis­ted and that there were thus only four ins­tead of five gene­ra­ti­ons of the “Gra­nate”). – By the way, I think it is con­ceiva­ble that if you look at the pro­duc­tion you could iden­tify even more gene­ra­ti­ons (for exam­ple, on the left and middle vari­ants in the photo I can’t see any traces of bar­rel grinding).

    As far as fur­ther deve­lo­p­ment is con­cer­ned I can only spe­cu­late. If you sim­pli­fied the design it would no lon­ger be a “Gra­nate“, and the brass was – and is – a typi­cal fea­ture of this shar­pe­ner. Given these aspects, I would fear that any major change would even­tually lead to the dis­ap­pearance of this clas­sic. And after 130 years, that would be very unfort­u­nate. Maybe it is pos­si­ble to switch to Eco­Brass but that’s all I would do.

    I do not con­sider Pol­lux and Cas­tor to be a fur­ther deve­lo­p­ment of the “Gra­nate“ but “spe­cial use” shar­pe­ners because their cones deviate from the stan­dard (22°). The Cas­tor is in the tra­di­tion of the long point shar­pe­ners for ste­no­gra­phic pen­cils and the Pol­lux takes a spe­cial posi­tion with its cur­ved blade which rest­ricts its use to high-quality pencils.

    It remains exciting!

  3. Thank you, Gun­ther for such an ela­bo­rate ans­wer in Eng­lish. This third gene­ra­tion was, as you state, most likely just a short lived tran­si­ent ver­sion. Extre­mely dif­fi­cult to find I guess if pro­du­ced for only a short period of time. How nice to see its pic­ture though. I hope you will spot/find/purchase one!

    I agree a grenade/‘Granate’ not made from brass is not a grenade/‘Granate’. Its weight can’t be matched pro­perly with other sub­s­tances. Stain­less steel and cera­mics can be metal/ceramic injec­tion molded (within very tight tole­ran­ces) and sin­te­red after­wards. If ever cop­per (main ingre­di­ent of brass) beco­mes too expen­sive there are alter­na­ti­ves for the evo­lu­tion of a simi­lar shaped tool (bullet/rocket/egg/walnut or dif­fe­rent name). Time will tell!

  4. My plea­sure, Wow­ter! Thank you for your com­ment and the details.

    I think you are very right in your assump­tion that the third was only a very short gene­ra­tion, per­haps only a brief tran­si­tion. I will keep my eyes peeled!

    I find that there are too many cheap pla­s­tic shar­pe­ners with non-replaceable blades that pro­duce poor results. And worse – even many a bran­ded shar­pe­ner dis­ap­points. A few years ago someone recom­men­ded a pla­s­tic shar­pe­ner from Faber-Castell to me. I bought it, tes­ted it and threw it away because it not only pro­du­ced com­pa­ra­tively thick shavings but also squea­ked (!). A few years ago a fri­end told me that his Graf von Faber-Castell pen­cil shar­pe­ner (platinum-plated, about 80 Euros at the time) pro­du­ces a thin peg at the tip which indi­ca­tes faulty geo­me­try. And at that price!

    All this shows not only how good the M+R shar­pe­ners are (I couldn’t help but pro­mote them) but also that there is still a need for well-functioning, appe­al­ing and afforda­ble sharpeners.

    Give me the futu­ristic MIM sharpener! ;-)

  5. Yes! We both agree! If only we were respon­si­ble for this type of tools .. All would be of the best qua­lity at a fair price.

  6. I don’t know if we could really do it bet­ter; I for one don’t think I could. An inte­rest in shar­pe­ners and some detailed know­ledge are unfort­u­na­tely not enough. Deve­lo­p­ment, pro­duc­tion, mar­ke­ting, sales – all that is also part of it.

    But I could ima­gine that in the future it will be even easier than today to manu­fac­ture spe­cial pro­ducts in small quan­ti­ties. Maybe this path will lead to new shar­pe­ners, and maybe we will join in ;-)

  7. You are so right! Making and sel­ling good pro­ducts, like these simple pen­cil shar­pe­ners, is hard and requi­res skills I don’t have. A little bit of day dre­a­ming made me write these sen­ten­ces above! Yes indeed, Möbius & Rup­pert is doing a remar­kable job. Hard to do it bet­ter than they do. Easy to sug­gest alter­na­ti­ves but engi­nee­ring needs bud­get and know how. So MIM or CIM tech­no­logy will remain a fan­tasy. Unless someone with deep pockets and a bit foo­lish takes over the helm and invests a lot in some­thing radi­cally dif­fe­rent (wit­hout being sure of the result in and accep­tance by the market).

  8. You have sum­ma­ri­sed the chal­lenges very well.

    I found our exch­ange of ideas very enri­ching and had great fun with our day­d­reams! It is not uncom­mon for good ideas to come out of the lat­ter as well. And who knows what sur­pri­ses the mar­ket will bring …

    And as for the “Gra­nate”, I can only hope that it will be around for a very long time to come!

  9. I just thought that it might get a dif­fe­rent name in the future. The name ‘Gra­nate’ has some­thing aggressive/explosive over it though it is just an inward direc­ted knife con­tai­ner. I con­sider it a heavy fri­endly chunk. Maybe nut, acorn or peb­ble could intro­duce a fri­end­lier accent. Or Jason! A fri­end of Cas­tor and Pol­lux. But of course it still resem­bles a gre­nade. Well, what is in a name ..

  10. That’s a very important aspect. The word “Gra­nate” cer­tainly doesn’t have a very posi­tive con­no­ta­tion but the name has been in com­mon use for this shar­pe­ner for over 120 years, is wide­spread and the­r­e­fore pro­ba­bly here to stay (in English-speaking count­ries the shar­pe­ner is often cal­led “brass bul­let shar­pe­ner”, some­ti­mes also “car­tridge”). – By the way, the name was regis­tered twice in Ger­many, namely 1901 and 1939; today there is no lon­ger an entry.

    I think it is important for a pro­duct to have a cat­chy name if it is to be suc­cessful, and I believe this is true of “Gra­nate”. Would the shar­pe­ner have been so suc­cessful with its item num­ber 14/I and later 604? Pro­ba­bly not. Per­haps the popu­la­rity of the shar­pe­ner and the fami­lia­rity of its name out­weigh the nega­tive aspects of the latter!

  11. Your words are well cho­sen. I agree for most part of it! I am not sure howe­ver that it wouldn’t have been a suc­cess wit­hout such a cat­chy name. I do think its hap­tic feel (excel­lent weight and rough­ness) and func­tion­a­lity (shar­pe­ning very well) were most important.

    On the other hand, there is no dis­cus­sion about the fact that it is easier to fami­lia­rise with it given its cur­rent name than had it been a num­ber or let­ter com­bi­na­tion. In cars, I once read, there is a alter­na­tion in names (like Golf) and number/letter (e.g. ID-3) com­bi­na­ti­ons. For mar­ke­ting simi­lar pro­ducts (cars don‘t dif­fer that much ;)) it is cru­cial, it seems.

    Gra­nate has sur­vi­ved all trends. An icon that deser­ves even more appreciation/ reco­gni­tion. Hum­ble, well-priced, long-lasting and effective.

  12. You are right – a cat­chy name is not a man­da­tory requi­re­ment for the suc­cess of a pro­duct but it can con­tri­bute greatly to it. And I also think that the suc­cess of the “Gra­nate” is based on its hap­tic feel, its uti­lity value and of course its uni­que design. The lat­ter alone gives this shar­pe­ner a spe­cial posi­tion and ensu­res suf­fi­ci­ent pro­duct differentiation!

    I have never been inte­res­ted in cars, and so many look very simi­lar to me. Snappy names don’t help me eit­her ;-) But I think I can under­stand that for the mar­ke­ting of very simi­lar pro­ducts you have to pay even more atten­tion to the names.

    The fact that the “Gra­nate” has sur­vi­ved all the trends and is still so suc­cessful is very remar­kable and deser­ves great reco­gni­tion. Whoe­ver crea­ted it did it very well, and all those who have impro­ved it over the years also deserve respect.

    Off to the next 130 years!

  13. We do agree in all aspects. What a great recap on this dis­cus­sion! I enjoyed the exch­ange of ideas and opi­ni­ons. 130 years of exis­tence: Hard to ima­gine they will evolve in the future. They rea­ched per­fec­tion already.

    ‘Gra­nate’ and Pol­lux are my favou­rite pen­cil shar­pe­ners. You intro­du­ced me to their qua­li­ties. Thanks for that noti­fi­ca­tion through Lexi­ka­li­ker too! Keep on tel­ling great stories.

  14. Wow­ter, I have enjoyed our dis­cus­sion very much too! It was very inspi­ring and made me think about dif­fe­rent aspects. Thank you for sha­ring your thoughts!

    Yes, maybe this is the secret of the “Gra­nate”: It’s been per­fect for a long time now.

    I’m happy to hear that the “Gra­nate” and Pol­lux are your favou­rite shar­pe­ners. It was a plea­sure to show both here, and will con­ti­nue to do so. And the next sto­ries are alre­ady in the making!

  15. To revive this hymn of the glory of ‘Gra­nate’, a short follow-up .. How won­derful you rese­ar­ched the name of its inven­tor by tra­cing back its origin/conception in a Swiss patent (see later posts in this for­mi­da­ble blog). It is Ewald Breit­scheid. More than 130 years ago: 1890 for its appli­ca­tion. The story, apart from its first manu­fac­tu­rer, is now com­plete. Long may ‘Gra­nate’ live.

  16. Thank you for your kind words, Wow­ter! This has been an exci­ting jour­ney but there is still much to dis­co­ver. One detail that I have only ever men­tio­ned in pas­sing so far I will pre­sent in more depth shortly.

    Here’s to the next 130 years! ;-)

  17. Ich bin wie immer inter­es­siert. Schlagwort/‘Tag’: „Gra­nate“ funk­tio­niert sehr gut. Dies bie­tet einen guten chro­no­lo­gi­schen Überblick.

  18. Das freut mich zu hören! Der Über­lick über das Stich­wort „Gra­nate“ fasst zwar alles zusam­men, zeigt aber lei­der nur die Rei­hen­folge mei­ner Funde und Bei­träge zu die­sem Spit­zer, nicht jedoch des­sen chro­no­lo­gi­sche Ent­wick­lung. Aber ich habe auch schon an eine Zeit­leiste gedacht ;-)

  19. Inte­res­t­ing! Will you post a chro­no­lo­gi­cal sum­mary? So many details were reco­vered over the years you pos­ted. How about a book? Great pho­to­graphs and such a long history.

  20. I have alre­ady star­ted with a chro­no­lo­gi­cal over­view, if only to give mys­elf an over­view. A book – or at least a book­let – would of course also be nice but for that I should per­haps not have published ever­y­thing here. But who knows what else will come up …

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