A box of vintage boxed Tombow’s

While recovering from my third bout of Covid in 4 years, I spent the weekend sorting out my Tombow treasure chest and decided to pluck out a couple of very delicate original boxed examples to be stored separately.

These are:

H100-Clip General Holder, a short plastic hex bodied lead holder in red, circa 1960s. This is still the closest thing I have to the very first Tombow lead holder from 1957.

H400-0.7 Lead Holder, one of my favs in the collection - a Criterium inspired metal hex bodied twist propel MP. Circa 1960s, possibly before 1967.

H300K Knock Type Holder, possibly Tombow’s first 0.5mm model from 1967. Eagle eyed observers will note the slight warping of the hex body. Mechanism works.

H300-04 Flat Lead Holder, a simple solution to maintaining a constant width for carpenters and construction workers, circa 1958. I believe similar solutions were made by FC etc. Honesty, I don’t use this… just like to have it in the collection.

MONO eraser holder, one of the early versions that held a dual sided block. The tiny blue collar has the old ‘MONO’ logo molded in it. Circa 1970s.


It is actually easier to draw a straight line with a flat lead, since the you can keep lead in parallel with the line you’re making. Also, for smooth curves. Afaik flat lead was particularly useful for tailors and in textile companies.


Yes, flat lead holders are super-cool! On the tip of my tongue I can recall for sure at least two models from Faber-Castell (“TK-9600”, twistaction, wooden barrel, and “TK-9400 FL”, drop clutch, plastic body), and one from Fedra (the “Constructor”, I assume twistaction, plastic body). Had no idea Tombow had jumped on that bandwagon as well.

If only the flat lead from FC wouldn’t be so hard to get…

By the way: impressive collection of really neat pieces. :slight_smile:


So cool to see these rare vintage TOMBOW pencils, Kelvin. Thanks for sharing! So sorry to hear that COVID19 nabbed you again. Crazy to think that it’s so pervasive and “part of life” that it’s considered endemic in Singapore now.

TOMBOW sure has been around for a long time. It’s interesting to see their design origins.

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I’m actually guilty of a typo. It’s actually the H300-04. So the line being laid down is 0.4mm. If these leads were still widely available, I wouldn’t mind trying to use it and see how the broad tip can create interesting strokes.

Isn’t it a 4mm width line?

Such fantastic items. Truly vintage time capsules. Thank you for sharing.

Hope third round of covid is not too bad…

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I think you’re right, haha! I was thinking more of using it along the ‘length’ of the edge…

You really got me thinking there so I went back to find out more. Dan calls these Lofting pencils: https://www.reddit.com/r/mechanicalpencils/comments/tn8nv9/various_flat_lead_lofting_pencils/

Here is another bit about the patent on them:

I have a Mifa 30, presumably 3mm wide. Like you, I never use the thing.


Man, I can’t get enough of the typography on GENERAL HOLDER and FLAT LEAD HOLDER :star_struck:

That super chonky didone-style font is just perfect here.