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.
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).
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.
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.