Welcome to Roger Russell's
Norma Pencil Page

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without written permission of the author.

Pencils are for those who know they can make mistakes.
Erasers are the path to perfection.
Pens have written and must move on.

Pencils write when they are old and even when they are cold.
Pencils write high in the air and never leak, no matter where.

This page started as a result of my search for a Norma four color pencil to replace one that I lost back in the 1950's. As my curiosity continued, I learned there had been more than one kind of Norma pencil sold. To my knowledge there is no other information on the web about the history of the Norma Multikolor pencils. Any additions, comments or corrections are welcome.

What's On These Pages?

Norma History

Norma Models

Operating Instructions

Late Versions

Early Versions

Norma Leads

Norma Ink Cartridges

Norma Erasers and Replacements

Patents

Leads For Sale

Pencil Lead Grades

Pentel 8-Color 2mm Pencil

Goldfink Pencils

Faber-Castell 1.4mm Pencil

Pencil Links

 

Norma History

Norma was in business in 1939, and perhaps earlier. At that time it was known as Norma Multicolor, Inc., New York, NY. In the 1950's, the address was: Norma Pencil Corporation, Norma Building, 137 West 14th Street, New York 11, N.Y. They went out of business in 1967. They made 4-color and 3-color pencils. There was also a combination model with three different leads and a ball point pen. Several Norma advertisements were found in the National Geographic magazine from 1949-1951 and Fortune magazine Oct. 1951. The name Norma also appeared on several German 4-color pencils called Fend Super Norma.

The Fend Company was founded Pforzheim, Germany in 1889. Fend was the largest maker of gold and silver overlay works in the 1920's and 1930's. All Montblanc overlays during that period were done by Fend. Fend also produced a few fountain pens and rolled gold overlay pencils. This information came from the book Fountain Pens of the World by Andreas Lambrou, page 214.

Norma Models

This information was supplied with a #104 chrome 4-color pencil.

 

Operating Instructions

Late Versions

This is a Norma #404. On this pencil, Sterling Silver U.S.A. is engraved on both the cap and the barrel.
Sterling minimum is 92.5% silver by weight and 7.5% of other metals, usually copper.
See my copper reference page for more information about copper terminology and uses.
Operation is similar to the #104

A small tag was attached to the pencil with a string looped around the body.
It says No. 404 and $10.00, the price at that time. On the other side it says Sterling Silver.

This is a Norma #504. On this pencil, 14k 1/10 Gold Filled U.S.A. is engraved on both the cap and the barrel.
See my Gold Reference Page for more information about gold terminology and uses.
Operation is similar to the #104.
The price advertised in National Geographic (1949-1951) for a 14Kt. Gold, Green or natural pencil is $100.

This is a #104 four color pencil like the one I bought in 1954, complete with original box. The pencil was also wrapped in cellophane. The Length with leads retracted is 5-11/16". Barrel diameter is 3/8". Weight is 26 grams, or just under one ounce. The finish is shiny chrome. The color guides have a rounded shape with serrations. The color indication is inside on the slider and can be seen through the slot. The four colors are red, blue, green and black. There is no spring in this model to pull the color guide back in place. It sold for $4.50 in the late 40's to 1950's and seems to be the most popular model.

 

This is the Norma 3-color #103B with chrome finish and black trim. This is similar to the #104 but with the black portion of the barrel and only three color guides. The colors are red, black and blue. It was also available in all chrome. Weight is 22 grams, or just over 3/4 of an ounce.

Earlier Versions

 

This is an earlier model #504. It is 14k gold filled. See my Gold Reference Page for more information about gold terminology and uses. In this version, The color guide slides forward until it locks in a single position. It can only be released by pushing on a tab that appears in a single hole in front of the guide when it locks. A spring automatically pulls it back in place after the tab is pushed in to release it. The color guide has a rounded shape with serration. The color is indicated between the individual serrations. Length with leads retracted is 5-1/2". Barrel diameter 3/8". Weight is 26 grams, or just under one ounce.

This is an older style two-color pencil. The clip has NORMA on it. It has six flat surfaces. The two sides with the color guidess are not as wide. A guide can be advanced until a tab locks in a single hole in front of the guide. It can only be released by pushing on the tab. A spring automatically pulls it back in place after the tab is pushed. One side has the word “Patent” on it. The lead size is 1.8mm. The two colors are red and black. The cap can be removed to store extra leads. The pencil appears to be gold plated but there is no indication of that on the barrel or cap. It is 5-1/8” long and .475” at the widest part. It weighs 27 grams or just under one ounce. Thanks to Julian Papier for the pencil.

This earlier version has a bayonet lock for the color indicator. Each color guide is smooth and has an inlay of colored material for the corresponding leads. Length with leads retracted is 5-3/8". Barrel diameter is 3/8". Weight is 28 grams, or one ounce. Here are the instructions that came with it.

 

This is a Super Norma pencil. On the upper barrel it says “800 patent.” The 800 indicates it is 80% silver by weight. Sterling silver minimum is 925. The color guide has a slanted shape with serrations. The color is indicated between the individual serrations but has been mostly worn away. The color guide can be pushed forward and it will lock in place. There is no release tab or sideways shift, as in other Normas. To release it, a new selection must be advanced. The previous selection will then automatically spring back in place. An internal sttrip with angles can be seen in the slot of each color guide and this constitutes the automatic release mechanism. Any color guide can be slid forward halfway to withdraw all colors.

It has a short top with a fancy design. It contains no eraser. The top unscrews and then the clip comes off as well. Extra leads are stored inside. There is no barrel release button under the clip as found with later other pencils. Instead, to dismantle the pencil, the barrel can be pulled directly off. Length is 5-1/4". Barrel diameter is 3/8". Weight is 32 grams, or about 1.1 ounces.

This is a Fend Super Norma. It appears to be silver plated. The color guide can be pushed forward and it will lock in place. There is also no release tab or sideways shift, as in many other Normas. To release it, a new selection must be advanced. The previous selection will then automatically spring back in place. To release it, a new selection must be advanced. The previous selection will then automatically spring back in place. The color is indicated by the dots forward of the color guide slot.

This Norma pencil appears to be silver plated. On the upper barrel it says “patent”. It has a color guide that slides forward until it locks in a single position. It can only be released by pushing on a tab that appears in a single hole in front of the guide when it locks. A spring pulls it back in place after the tab is pushed in to release it. The color guide has a rounded shape with serration. The color is indicated between the individual serrations. The color is dull silver. Length with leads retracted is 5-1/16". Barrel diameter is 3/8". Weight is 27 grams, or just under one ounce.

Norma Superior Quality Leads

The Norma pencils I have found all use the larger leads, as in the early Scripto and other pencils. The leads were identified as standard diameter (.047 inch). This size is now known as 1.1mm and is very hard to find. If you have ever tried colored leads in the newer 0.5mm or 0.7mm pencils, then you know how easily they break. I have found colored leads in the small sizes to be impractical because of this. The 1.1mm leads never seem to break.

12 tubes of leads came in gray cardboard containers.

 

 

Each tube of leads measured 3/8" in diameter and were 1-3/4' long. One tube contained 12 leads of one color and sold for 15 cents. An exception was the white lead tube that measured 1/2” in diameter.

Norma leads were all 1-3/8" long and 1.1mm (0.046”) in diameter. The tubes were white with colored end caps to indicate the lead color. An exception were tubes for the yellow leads.

Other colors may have also been available back then.

--------------------------------------------------------

Norma No. 3 and No. 4 tubes contained a mixture of colors totaling 24 leads and sold for 25 cents.

No. 3
12 leads black medium, 6 leads red, 6 leads blue leads.

No. 4
12 leads black medium 4 leads red, 4 leads blue, 4 leads green.

 

 

Norma Ink Cartridges

 

Norma ink cartridges were available for the Norma Combination pencil/pen. Each cartridge came in a white paper envelope 3-1/2" by 2-1/4" with an ungummed flap at one end. The writing was in black except where the color was stamped. The example has yellowed slightly with age and the pens have dried out.

 

 

 

The envelope contained an instruction sheet, measuring 5-1/8" by 2", printed on heavy paper. The sheet was folded and had two slits in the upper portion of the paper that held one ink cartridge.

The cartridge is 2-1/4" long and 0.10" in diameter and is made of brass. Cartridges were available in several colors. I have only identified red and green, but it is likely that blue and black existed and were the most popular. They sold for 49 cents.

 

Norma Erasers and Replacements

 

 

 

There were also Erasers sold by Norma. They came in gray cardboard cartons containing 12 smaller boxes of erasers. Each of the smaller cardboard boxes contained three erasers in holders. The individual eraser boxes measured 1-5/32 by 1-3/8" by 1/2" thick. The boxes were either white or yellow with red printing. The erasers were colored pink and measured 5/16" in diameter and 1/2" long. They sold for 10 cents per box.

 

It seems that we have all been looking for exact replacement erasers for our Norma pencils. I have found a few that are close but not exactly the same. The original erasers, used or not, have become hardened over the years and are no longer effective.

Norma erasers come with a metal holder. I have found several different holders. The one at the left is common with the more recent pencils. It has two metal sides. Each side has a small triangular piece that is pushed toward the inside. This helps to hold the eraser in place, This side has a circular piece that is pushed out. The pencil barrel has a single L shaped cutout. The circular piece in the holder is pushed in the slot and then rotated to keep the eraser in place.

The new Scripto eraser is white and the holder that comes with it has four metal sides. It will fit into this barrel almost as well as the Norma eraser. However, because there is no circular locator in the holder, the entire eraser assembly slides almost completely into the pencil barrel. A solution to this might be to remove the eraser from the Scripto holder and put it in the Norma holder. This will work ok but bear in mind that the Scripto eraser is about 1/16" shorter to begin with.

 

Metal holders have been found in earlier Norma pencils that have three sides. Each side has one indentation to hold the eraser in place. The barrel has a single slot that allows expansion when the assembly is pushed in place. It will slide down until it hits a shoulder inside and leave about 1/4" of eraser protruding. The barrel also has ridges to help keep it from slipping out. The Scripto eraser assembly will also fit in this pencil.

 

The barrel in this older Norma has no slot but has a slightly smaller inside diameter than the other Normas. Three ridges on the outside hold the cap in place. Here, a slightly smaller Pentel eraser is put in a Norma holder. It will slide down until it hits a shoulder inside and leave about 1/4" of eraser protruding. The Pentel holder that comes with the erasers is smaller in diameter and may not stay in place. The Scripto erasers and holder can be used but the eraser protrudes only about 3/16". The Scripto eraser can be put in the Norma holder but the fit will be very tight in this particular style of Norma.

The package is labeled Pentel Automatic Pencil Refill Erasers, Large Non-Abrasive Eraser, #PDE1BP-K6 80014 but may no longer be available.

For comparison, I have made a chart using some rough measurements of each of the erasers to give an idea of how they differ. The sizes are for the eraser only and don't include the metal holder. Although the differences in diameter are small it can make a noticeable change between a loose fit or tight fit. A little tape wound around the bottom of the eraser could make the fit a little better in the holder.

Brand

Diameter

Length

Norma

0.320"

0.510"

Scripto

0.300"

0.440"

Pentel

0.280"

0.490"

Patents

Patent number 1,889,550 MAGAZINE PENCIL
Issued to Albert Hirth, of Heiden, Rosenberg, Switzerland on Nov. 29, 1932. Application was filed Feb. 26, 1932, Serial No. 595,675, and in Germany Dec. 19, 1930. It describes a multiple lead carrier pencil having a return coil spring for each carrier. The carrier can be slid forward where a small block locks in place in a small hole forward of the carrier slot. By pushing the block back in the hole, the carrier will spring back and the next selection can be slid forward and locked in place. A feature of this design is that all these functions can be accomplished with one finger of the writing hand. A magazine with four compartments is illustrated. A threaded knob at the top of the pencil can be unscrewed for storage of extra leads.

Patent number 2, 067,455 PENCIL
Issued to Hans Maucher, New York, N.Y. on Jan. 12, 1937. Application was filed for on Sept. 12, 1935, Serial No. 40,221. It also describes a multiple lead carrier pencil having a coil spring return for each carrier. The carrier can be slid forward and then to the side to engage a shoulder to hold it in place. By pushing the carrier to the other side, it disengages the shoulder and springs back in place. The internal mechanism for accomplishing this and advancing the lead in each carrier is different from the earlier patent. A magazine with four compartments is illustrated. The top has a compartment for extra leads and an eraser.

Patent number 2,170,761 MECHANICAL PENCIL
Issued to Hans Maucher, New York, N.Y. and assigned to Norma Multikolor, Inc., New Your, N.Y. It was issued on Aug. 22, 1939. Application was filed for on Jan. 7, 1939. This describes two methods of controlling the lead carriers, neither of which use an automatic spring return. A feature of this design is a minimum number of parts and ease of assembly resulting in substantial savings in the cost and labor to manufacture. Magazines with three and four compartments are illustrated. A cap at the top can be removed for lead storage and a clip can be added that is held by the cap.

In the first version, the carrier is formed by a bent metal piece that keeps it pushed outward. It has a small section bent outward at the end. The carrier can be pushed in, releasing it from a lateral slot at the rear, and be advanced to the forward position. The metal at the end of the carrier then locks in a lateral slot in front of the carrier slot. Instead of pushing the metal in the slot to release it, the carrier can be pushed in to release it and the carrier can then be pulled back to the locking position. A different carrier can then be selected.

In the second version, there is a small lateral rear and forward slot in one side of the main carrier slot. The carrier can be pushed in to release at the rear and move forward to the front slot. It can then be released to lock in place at the front slot. When the process is reversed, a different carrier can be selected.

Leads For Sale

Colored leads for Norma and other 1.1mm pencils are extremely hard to find. You can now purchase 1.1mm (.046") leads 1-3/8" long in red, blue, green or black (HB grade). Each color is $5.00 for 10 pieces

First class shipping is in a sturdy piece of plastic pipe and padded envelope for only $3.00 no matter how many sets you buy.
email to rogerr4@earthlink.net for more information.

I also have Scripto pencils, leads and erasers for sale on my Scripto Pencil Page .

 

Pencil Lead Grades

Many black pencil leads in the stores today range from the softest 4B to the hardest or firmest 4H. The letter H indicates the hardness of the lead. The letter B indicates the blackness made by the lead. The letter F indicates that the lead sharpens to a fine point. Leads sold many years ago were graded only by numbers. Wood cased pencils may be graded by number and/or words. The words may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. There is no grading system that I know of for colored pencil leads. The chart below is an approximate comparison between the grading systems.

New Grading

4B

3B

2B

B

HB

F

H

2H

3H

4H

Older Grading

 

 

 

#1

#2

#2-1/2

#3

#4

 

 

Wood Cased
Pencils

 

 

 

soft

med
soft

med
firm

firm

extra
firm

 

 

 

Of course, we know that the leads are really made with graphite, a form of carbon. You can't get lead poisoning from a "lead" pencil. Real lead hasn't been used in pencils since the days of the Romans but the term stayed on. The "leads" consist of a mixture of graphite and clay. The proportion of graphite to clay can be adjusted to vary the hardness of the lead. More clay makes a harder lead, uses less graphite and makes a lighter line. More graphite makes a softer lead, uses less clay and makes a darker line.

Pentel PH158 8-Color Pencil

 

This can be used for art or writing and uses 2-mm lead. It has eight colors: pink, red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue and brown. The pencil body is transparent plastic so all the leads can be seen. By rotating the orange clip, the selected color lead can be seen in line with the slot. By pressing the yellow plunger at the end of the pencil, the selected lead will drop out to the maximum length, and then is held by a retaining clip at the end of the lead. The length of lead can be adjusted as in most drafting pencils by holding the plunger down to free the lead for the desired length. Leads can be removed by rotating the plunger index to be in line with the clip. Pushing the plunger will then release the old lead and a new one can be inserted.

The pencil is 5-1/2" long and the body is 1/2" in diameter at the thickest part and gradually tapers down at the end. It weighs only 16 grams, or a little over 1/2 ounce. Some models come with a blue clip instead of an orange one. An instruction sheet comes with the pencil. Made by Pentel Co. Ltd. (Japan). It had a suggested retail price of $14.00 and was discontinued a few years ago. Each refill contained two leads with a retaining clip.

Goldfink Pencils

 

The upper pencil is a 4-color version. The name Goldfink is on the clip and is of German origin. There is no silver grading on the pencil and it may only be silver plated. On the upper part of the barrel is stamped “Norma-Patent.” The color guides are spring loaded and must be advanced until a pin appears in the writing lock ahead of the color guide. The color guide will spring back in place when the pin is pressed in. The color of the lead is indicated on color guide and also on a dot on the barrel. The four colors are red, blue, green and black. The cap can be unscrewed to access spare leads. The lead diameter is 2.0mm. The pencil is 5-1/4” long. The lower barrel is 0.485” in diameter and the upper barrel is 5.1” in diameter. It weighs 42.3 grams or 1.5 ounces.

The lower pencil is a 6-color version. The name Goldfink is on the clip and is of German origin. There is no silver grading on the pencil and it may only be silver plated. On the upper part of the barrel is stamped “Patent.” The color guides are spring loaded and must be advanced until a pin locks in the writing lock ahead of the color guide. The color guide will spring back in place when the pin is pressed in. The color of the lead is indicated on the color guide. The six colors are red, blue, green, black, white and yellow. The cap can be unscrewed to access spare leads. The lead diameter is 1.0mm. The pencil is 5-1/4” long. The lower barrel is 0.485” in diameter and the upper barrel is 5.1” in diameter. It weighs 38.0 grams or 1.34 ounces.

Faber -Castell 1.4mm Pencil

In late 1999, an odd shaped pencil appeared for sale.
The barrels come in various colors like red, blue, yellow, black, white, and real maple.
The zebra is a ballpoint pen.
The front and back covers are always black polycarbonate.

The top pulls off to expose an eraser or can be turned to advance or retract the lead. A spring-loaded clip is on the side.

The front can be unscrewed to access spare leads.

 

The leads are 1.4mm in diameter. Action is very smooth for all operations. They are made by A. W. Faber-Castell GMBH & Co., D-90546 Stein/Nurnberg, Germany. They are 5" long, 9/16" in diameter at the widest point and weigh 13.7 grams or about 1/2 ounce.

About the year 2000, the pencils were selling for $29.95 each. Spare 1.4mm leads were 24 pieces for $12.95 and spare erasers were 10 pieces for $9.95. A matching maple ballpoint pen was selling for $29.95.

Pencil Links

Roger Russell's
Scripto Page

 

Many Scripto pencils, leads and erasers for sale including Scripto history.

The Pencil Pages

 

Has lots of useful information, want ads, links etc.

Stylos

 

By Elijah Romansky in Lviv, Ukraine.
He is a collector of wood-cased pencils.

 

 

 

About This Site

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More text and pictures about Norma will be added as my research continues. Any comments, corrections, or additions are welcome.

Email to
rogerr4@earthlink.net

 

Created by Roger Russell
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