A Quick Look at the Autopoint Twinpoint Pencil

Autopoint Twinpoint pencil

Autopoint pencils have always intrigued me. Autopoint makes pencils in the United States. The company is now headquartered in Janesville, Wisconsin, but it was founded in Chicago — two Midwestern American cities with deep roots in pen and pencil history. I remember seeing Autopoint pencils on my father’s desk when I was growing up. These pencils often were used in engineering and other technical fields, which is why they featured red, blue and green leads, in addition to the standard graphite.

The Twinpoint has two different points, one on each end. The one I bought has one regular pencil lead and one red lead, both 0.9 mm wide. You can order different combinations from the company or retailers, in the four colors, with different diameter lead options. Autopoint also makes regular mechanical pencils, too.

I’m not buying my Twinpoint for technical use, but just for normal use, so I mostly use the regular lead. But I like having the red lead there for editing or emphasis.

Here is the Twinpoint compared with some other pencils. Top to bottom are a standard wooden pencil, the Autopoint Twinpoint, a Lamy 2000 mechanical pencil and a pink Lamy Safari mechanical pencil.

Autopoint Twinpoint pencil compared

The Twinpoint is a plastic mechanical pencil  with ten faceted sides. It’s a bit wider than a standard wooden pencil. It’s got a metal clip. It weighs about 10.6 grams, and it’s nicely balanced and comfortable, even if you turn it upside down to use the red lead. Though light in weight, it feels sturdy, durable and well-made. The price ranges between $11 and $13 online.

There’s no room in the Twinpoint for a built-in eraser, with both ends devoted to pencil leads, so you’ll have to use a separate eraser. You advance the lead by twisting the end clockwise, which is very easy to do. If you twist the end counter-clockwise, you can retract the lead, finishing off with a light push on your finger or a hard surface. I like being able to retract, to save the leads from being broken off.

The regular 0.9 mm lead writes quickly and smoothly, with a small amount of feedback. It doesn’t smear or smudge. It erases quickly and fully. It’s a pleasure to use. Here are the Twinpoint leads compared to the Lamy 2000 0.5 mm lead, and to a wooden Pentel pencil (graded H).

Autopoint Twinpoint pencil writing samples

You can see in that writing sample that, unlike the regular lead, the red is light in color, and can be more difficult to read.

Autopoint Twinpoint pencil writing samples

The red lead isn’t as great in use either: it is not as smooth of a writer, and the red does not erase as easily or fully. An eraser for colored pencils probably would be a better tool for erasing the red, however.

Since I’m not crazy about the red lead, it’s nice to know there are some alternate red refill options to try. Autopoint refills are shorter than normal, and only made by Autopoint, but Jetpens advises that you can buy regular refills and snap those in half. So when it comes time to refill the red lead, I may test a different brand of red lead. I’ll stick with Autopoint for the regular lead, however, which I found perfect.

The Twinpoint has pluses and minuses, like any writing instrument. I’ve mentioned the red lead being less than perfect. In addition, the Twinpoint is a thinner mechanical pencil, and though I found it comfortable, it was designed before ergonomic grips became a thing. If you hold a pencil firmly, or write for fifteen minutes straight, you may miss having a cushy grip.

The Twinpoint is made in America, so it’s not a cut-rate, or cheap, pencil. Though it’s not horribly expensive, either: the Twinpoint is less than a $21 Lamy Safari pencil and significantly less than a Lamy 2000 pencil.

Here’s what I love most about the Twinpoint: it looks awesome. Geeky chic. Or throwback heaven. It’s great that Autopoint is still around, still making pencils with excellent quality. I’m glad to support that. And I don’t want to slight the Twinpoint as a tool, either, because it’s a very good mechanical pencil, with the added bonus of having two different colored points. This is a pencil I keep at my desk.

6 thoughts on “A Quick Look at the Autopoint Twinpoint Pencil

  1. I was looking for one of these last year. Really wanted one with “Property of US Govt.” printed on the body. Couldn’t find a decent example. I know they are still being made but the older versions had a more stable clip attachment from what I hear.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That sounds cool! I’ve not got an older one to compare. The clip on mine seems tight and stable, but I am not a big clip user — just occasionally clipping it to a pad of paper. The double-pointed nature of the pencil somewhat dampens the desirability of clipping it and carrying it around, for me. There’s always a pencil tip pointing outward, and I can’t help thinking “you’ll poke your eye out.” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Neat. My dad did drafting for a number of years (in tool design), so I developed a love of mechanical pencils through him. I only have a couple that I’ve kept over the years, but one or two mech pencils are good to have. BTW, Jonathan Veley has started a small business in vintage pencil leads, many stocks rescued from old manufacturing, etc. He might be a good source for better red leads. Shout if you want some contact linkage.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for reviewing it! I remember my mom having one of these in her desk drawer when I was a kid. I would play school with it. Using the red end for editing is perfect; I never have a red inked pen on hand for that. I love the retro nerdy vibe. 🤓 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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