⟨ Object ⟩

KUM

The master of sharpeners

Words / Phaedrus Lam
Illustration / Furze Chan
Translation / Ian Tsang

只要是喜歡文具的讀者,應該都不會對紐倫堡這個城市陌生。從19世紀出頭紐倫堡就是德國鉛筆生產商的必爭之地,像STAEDTLER、FABER-CASTELL、STABILO等迄立逾百年、至今仍享負盛名的文具品牌,都孕育自這個德國的工業城市。

鉛筆的買氣旺盛,自然也帶起對削筆器的巨大需求。創立自1919年,同樣以紐倫堡為生產基地的KUM,是世界上歷史最悠久的削筆器生產商,其品牌名字「KUM」,來自德語塑膠(Kunststoff)和金屬(Metall)二字的拼合使用;都是在生產削筆器時會派上用場的物料。

這個精緻小巧的地球削筆器,是KUM在1928年推出的款式,其順時針的轉軸,剛好迎合地球自轉的方向。。不要看這削筆器小小的,就以為它一定弱不禁風;當你用它來削鉛筆時,回傳的手感滑溜暢順,可見刀刃的鋒利程度。要道出當中的秘密,是因為「KUM」堅持只使用高碳鋼(High Carbon Steel)作為刀片材質,那相比起現代常見的不鏽鋼要更堅固,不過保固時也更費心,必須適時抹油和擦搓以防止刀片生鏽。雖然聽起來有點麻煩,不過老品的好從來都不在便捷,而且平日有悉心做保養的話,工具也一定會好好回報你的。

貘記
香港上環永樂街65號4樓

The city of Nürnberg should be no stranger to readers who like stationery. Since the beginning of 19th century, Nürnberg has been a hotly contested market among pencil makers in Germany. This industrial city has given birth to and nurtured century-old prestigious stationery brands including STAEDTLER, FABER-CASTELL and STABILO.

Naturally, the popularity of pencils has also fed a huge demand for pencil sharpeners. Established in 1919, KUM has similarly based its production in Nürnberg and it is the pencil sharpener manufacturer boasting the longest history in the world. Its brand name KUM comes from ‘kunststoff’ and ‘metall’, which are German words meaning plastic and metal respectively. Both are key materials used for making pencil sharpeners.

The tiny but exquisite Earth pencil sharpener shown here is a model KUM released in 1928. Its spin axis rotates clockwise, which fits in with how the Earth spins on its own orbit. However, even if it rotates in anti-clockwise direction, it can correspond to how the Earth orbits around the sun. Just because it is tiny does not mean it is not powerful. When you use it to sharpen a pencil, the smooth rotating movement of your hand testifies to how sharp the blade is. The secret lies in KUM’s insistence on solely using high-carbon steel for making its blades. This material proves much stronger than the more commonly used stainless steel. However, maintenance requires more effort as in the necessity of applying oil to and wipe it regularly to prevent the blade from becoming rusty. It sounds a bit troublesome but as always, the merits of time-tested products never lie in its convenience. Moreover, if you take good care of your tool on a regular basis, it certainly will repay you accordingly.

Makee
4/F, 65 Wing Lok Street, Sheung wan, Hongkong