Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year with Ink Cocktails

This post from a few years ago is still relevant today as it was back then.
Here's another helping of INK COCKTAILS

To facilitate the use of writing instruments, Palimpsest recommends that writers first endeavour to lubricate their thoughts and minds with these reputable ink cocktails. After all 'Tis the season. Palimpsest raises its glass to all fellow bloggers and dear readers and wishes an inkfull new year to all.

The recipes come from the classic Savoy Cocktail Book of legendary bartender Harry Craddock who worked at the Savoy Hotel in London between 1920 and 1930.

Ink Street Cocktail

2 oz. lemon juice
2 oz. orange juice
2 oz. whiskey
Shake and strain

Fleet Street, London

I presume the cocktail was invented by Craddock for his Press clientele who inhabited Fleet Street, also called Street of Ink (meaning printer’s ink), home of the British newspapers, and famous for its “alcohol-fuelled culture” (it’s all over now). Craddock recommends Canadian Club Whiskey for his Ink Street cocktail and advises shaking the mixture for 10 to 20 seconds before pouring it in a cocktail glass.

Artist’s (Special) Cocktail Or
Ink of Inspiration

1/3 Whisky
1/3 Sherry
1/6 Lemon Juice
1/6 Groseille Syrup

Shake and Strain

Recipe is from Craddock Savoy Cocktail Book and comes with a note:
“This is the genuine ‘Ink of Inspiration’ imbibed at the Bal Bullier Paris. The recipe is from the Artist’s Club, Rue Pigalle, Paris.”

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The Kimberly

When I was contacted by Pedlars around a year ago about suggestions on new pencils, little did I know about the existence of the Kimberly. The blogosphere may have been awash with odes to the Palomino Blackwing but none similar could I find to exalt that green and gold writing instrument of General Pencil Co. So on my recent trip to New York I made sure I'd acquire a Kimberly and there it was sitting pretty in A. I. Friedman. There were only two grades available, F and 2B, so I got them both and couldn't wait to try the pencil once I was over the Atlantic.

I wasn't disappointed. First of all, the Kimberly is pleasing to the eye: a green hexagonal pencil with striking gold lettering and a golden top. The brass capped end of the pencil really makes it stand out and give it a kind of vintage feel without making it top heavy.

The Kimberly is a cedar pencil with a Carbo-Welded graphite core which apparently makes it able to withstand four times the normal pressure. The Kimberly F being harder produces a much crisper line than the 2B - and also darker than the Staedtler Tradition's equivalent grade (I only had Staedtler's F pencil to compare it with). Kimberly F had an unsightly barcode imprinted which was not the case with the 2B one. 

From above: Kimberly, TomBow Mono, Palomino, Berol Mirado - all 2B
Doesn't look that there are any significant differences in blackness here, except perhaps for the Mirado which appears more grey compared to the others. 

2B is dark and smooth with good point retention. I've compared it to TomBow Mono 2B and found it pretty similar. It is softer and darker than Berol Mirado 2B but is beat on both counts by the Palomino 2B. It smudges much less though. I think I'm won over by the Kimberly and I will admit that the brass top makes me ever so slightly biased in its favour.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Signet 100: New pencil on the block.

Who is not attracted by an orange pencil box? This one that arrived in the post courtesy of Pedlars has been lovingly designed by Well Made Studio and is a sensory experience in itself: fine buckram emboss texture, solid colours, bold white-foiled type, elegant contrast of the grey pencil drawer with the orange case, grey ribbed ribbon loop to serve as a drawer pull-out and two white-foil pencil shapes on the sides of the box to complete the perfect picture.

The box also purported to contain the Perfect Pencil, one developed after years of Pedlars scouring the world for the best stationery available, as the (orange) card inside informs. The pencils are made in the Czech Republic and the wooden casing is American basswood. The shaft of the hexagonal pencil is a lacquered orange with silver foil lettering and band. The design seems to me a nod to Palomino while the epithet cannot but make one think of Faber Castell's claim to perfection. Signet is an elegant name for a pencil, and appropriate too since with Signet Pedlars aspires to make its mark to the pencil world. Do they manage to?

The Signet 100 is an HB pencil but feels to me a bit harder than that. It is perhaps for this reason that it holds its point very well and does not smudge. It produces more of a grey than a black mark. If you are a fan of Blackwing's or TomBow's darkness this is not for you but what the Signet lacks in darkness it makes up for point retention. For one who is used to have a sharpener as the Palomino Blackwing's constant companion, the Signet 100 seemingly writes on for ever without going anywhere near a razor.

The writing is crisp and the point does not yield to the paper as does the Palomino's. You definitely get feedback from the pencil as you write and you cannot call it smooth but it is not as waxy as the Wopex. I reckon that one could easily switch from writing to drawing lines and designing without switching to an H pencil. It sharpens easily and erases completely. It could replace the Staedtler Noris as the staple school pencil if it wasn't for the price (£2.50 a pop) and the happy student would get the cool orange box to double up as pen and pencil case. It feels like a dependable pencil to have around and the designer box is an extra bonus.

Messrs Pedlars: Welcome to the world of pencil makers.


Thursday, 4 December 2014

All Quiet on the Western Front: the waiting pen

I try to think myself back into that time. It is still there in the room, I can feel it at once, the walls have preserved it. My hands are lying on the back of the sofa; now I make myself comfortable, tuck my legs in and sit easily, cradled in the sofa's arms. The little window is open, and shows me the familiar view of the street with the church spire looming up at the end. There are a few flowers on the table. Pens, pencils, a shell for a paperweight, the inkwell - nothing has changed. It will be just like this, if I am lucky, when the war is over and I come home for good. I shall sit here, the same as before, and look at my room, and wait.

Erich Maria Remarch, All Quiet on the Western Front, p. 122.