A review of the classic Pilot H-1010 ‘The Shaker’ pencil

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.
Pilot Shaker Pencil Blue Check Prices and Reviews on Amazon

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!

If you like The Shaker why not pop over and have a look at our review of the Pentel Jolt automatic pencil.

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Tony Bridges

As a seasoned journalist and freelance writer, I've spent over three decades telling stories and exploring the world through the written word. With a passion for writing instruments, I found my niche at The Pen Vibe, a blog that shares our collective fascination with pens, pencils, and other tools that have shaped the art of writing.

11 thoughts on “A review of the classic Pilot H-1010 ‘The Shaker’ pencil”

  1. I loved my Shaker pencil. I bought it from a little stationary store in Surrey that would put your purchases in a blue and white stripe paper bag. I didn’t know just how special it was when I bought it, but being a stationary obsessed teenage girl I wanted it! And I treasured it throughout the years. School exams, GCSEs, A-levels, medical school. I loved it so much, I preferred it over pens for note making. Then I took it with me when I moved overseas and kept it safe after I was married with 4 kids… who, you know …….get into all your stuff! And then one country to another and another and another, this constant moving…. almost 30 years later… I can’t find my Shaker. I’m so sad. I want to buy a new one but I’m scared it won’t be the same.

  2. Forgot to add this: If I suddenly lost my ORIGINAL 1985 Pilot
    2020 Rocky, I’d pay the $ 25 or $ 30 to get another one, today!

    But be sure its the ORIGINAL Rocky 2020 from around 1985.
    They seem to be marketing a “new” Rocky 2020 but it looks
    NOT to be the same pencil.

  3. I’ve had several of these and they are OK. If you want the world’s
    best pencil, go to Ebay and pay $ 25 or $ 30 for the Pilot 2020
    Rocky. I’ve got 3 of them and have been using the first one
    I got it back in 1985. A friend brought it to me from Japan.
    I then had another friend pick me up 2 more a year or 2 later when
    they went to Japan, but I have haven’t worn the first one out yet.

    I’ve never found anywhere other than Ebay to buy one.

  4. I was using my shaker for 6 years… in this moment, maybe 10 years ago, it dissapered from my desk! uffff… terrible! Is a great pencil definitly. But I remember that after 3 or four years of hard usage, it started to work bad when I used the top button for get lead, because it wasn’t able to mantain it out when writeing or drawing… but no problem, because the shaking system never failed! Like the last one, I’m considering buy another…

  5. I have been using my shaker for more than 20 years. Unfortunately, the small rubber inside the sleeve through which the lead passes got to stiff, so the shaking mechanism does not operate anymore. MP, I think that the only reason your leads slip back is low quality leads, unless there is some dirt blocking the claw. I really consider buying a new one.

  6. I love it . Anyone who sits on my desk too. Somebody took off the cap . I cant stand to see it. I understand who fell in love w pencils and pens.

  7. I love my Shaker. The retractable tip is there to avoid breaking the lead: you need to shake it just once or twice so the tip appears and the tiniest bit of lead is exposed: you can then press hard against the paper, but the lead won’t break as it’s enclosed in the tip.

    If the tip retracts (say, you drew a line with a ruler and it got pushed back in) you can just shake it or take it out again with fingernails/tweezer/whatever.

    PS: My Shaker does work upside down as well.

  8. I do use pencils! But not my H1010 that much. I bought one (1986?) and used it for some years. Now I keep it in a drawer and together with all the othr pencils and pens and sometimes I pick it up and remember “those days”.

    I think its great!
    I think I must be out of my mind being in love with a pencil!!/Sigge


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