|My handwritten review. Text of this page after the pictures.|
|Aside the Pentel GraphGear 1000, the king of all Pentel drafting pencils.|
The Pentel 350E—an historical pencil, to say the absolute least. To say a bit more, this is one of the first, if not THE FIRST, mechanical pencils released by Pentel. It kind of reminds me of the Japanese compact cars of the 1960s & 1970s—quaint, but driving them today, while they probably function just as well as they did when new, is kind of a chore, while their historical value is undeniable. They have just been surpassed by subsequent technological advances, making them totally obsolete in comparison to the creature-comfort laden cars of today.
Onto the pencil. The body, as you can see in the picture, is a maroonish color with the typical silver trim. What is cool, though, is that the body is hexagonal and tapers at the tip just like a woodcase pencil. It’s got a 4mm fixed sleeve, so it’s suitable for drafting purposes. Another thing about this pencil that shows its age is the PENTEL logo—it’s not the familiar Pentel [written in modern Pentel font] we’ve come to know and love. Block letters here for all the lettering on the pencil, including “MADE IN JAPAN.”
Functionality wise, though, this pencil is not very good. Already I’m feeling the burn of not having any sort of grip area—the pencil is pretty thin and VERY smooth, making it difficult for me to hold the pencil without it sliding and without giving it an iron-like deathgrip. Also, you may have noticed the thin lead advancement button—THERE IS NO ERASER. The button comes off to reveal the lead tube directly. On one hand this is OK because it saves me the disappointment of that TINY easer on modern pencils, but come on.
To top it all off, the lead tube is micro thin, even for a 0.5mm pencil. So tiny, in fact, that there is only space for ONE lead. Not only do you need to carry along an eraser, but also a spare lead tune! This pencil is truly barebones.
Overall, I’d give the Pentel 350E 3/5; while it is devoid of anything resembling modern conveniences we take for granted today, like a grip, an eraser, and space for extra lead, it is an historical milestone, and I am glad to have this pencil in my collection.