I have had a variety of vintage pencils in the locker but have refrained from using any of these at the office as I do not want to lose them or they are getting a little fragile. As a result, over the past couple of years, my workplace pen has been the standard HB pencil or a disposable plastic make. About a year ago, the manager came back from New York with a fistful of Pilot H1010 ‘The Shaker’ pencils that he had picked up at a very reasonable price. Dropping one on each desk with the instruction “Use these, they are great” he walked away leaving us all a bit bemused.
This version of The Shaker has almost reached the collectible vintage tag and rightly so when one considers that it has been around for almost a quarter of a century. Unlike more modern designs where there has been a tendency to give pencils a space-age look with curves and bulges, The Shaker remains a classical looking pencil with a black barrel enhanced by two discreet yellow markings, a ring around the barrel and on the end cap that houses the eraser. It has a grooved grip machined into the barrel that does not disturb the design line as do the rubber grips of its more modern counterparts.
To advance the lead, one either simply shakes the pencil a couple of times or pushes the end to use the internal ratchet. The added advantage of shaking is that you get some pretty weird looks from people who have never come across the pencil before. The tip is also retractable providing you remember to do this after use. I always seem to forget and end up with tiny bits of 0.5mm lead in my pocket!
The clip is sturdy without being obtrusive thus maintaining the classic shape. I was asked once whether the lead would appear if you shook it upside down and the answer is no. I suppose this could be considered a downside but if so it’s the only one I could find.
For those who require a technical pencil, I would suggest they look elsewhere as The Shaker is a pencil for those of us looking for a comfortable everyday pencil that provides a smooth, consistent line.
I have to say as much as it goes against the grain, that the boss was absolutely correct and I have been using my Shaker more or less every day since although it has not made a marked difference to my career!