Ipad 2 Air

Date Launched: 3rd April 2010

Designer: Jonathan Ives

History: In a 1983 speech Steve Jobs explained Apple’s simple stategy: “What we want to do is we want to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes … and we really want to do it with a radio link in it so you don’t have to hook up to anything.”

The iPad is an iOS-based tablet computers designed and marketed by Apple inc. The first iPad was released on April 3, 2010 with the most recent iPad model, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro released on March 31, 2016.

The user interface is built around the device’s multi-function screen that includes a virtual keyboard. All models include built-in WiFi and cellular connectivity is available on certain models.

As of January 2015, there have been over 250 million iPads sold. There have been six version of the iPad. Apple sold more than 15 million first-generation iPads prior to the launch of the iPad 2.

The success of the iPhone led to Apple the launch of iPad that it had begun developing before the iPhone. In 1991, Jonathan Ive’s first project for Apple was a design for a stylus-based tablet – the Mackintosh Folio – but later agreed with Jobs that the phone was more important and contained much of the tablets innovations.

At the time of writing the most recent iteration of the iPad was in March 2016 when the 9.7-inch iPad Pro was announced, which coincided with Apple launching 256 GB storage for both the iPad Pro 9.7 and 12.9-inch versions.

Photo by Apple


Staedtler Noris HB Pencils

First Launched: Between 1900 and 1901.

The City of Nuremberg has a long history of pencil making and several hundred years before J.S. Staedtler opened his business in 1835 the roots of Staedtler family’s involvement can be traced back to 1662 when a pencil-maker named Friedrich Staedtler is referred to in the city’s archives.

On 3 October 1835, J.S. Staedtler received permission from the municipal council of Nuremberg to produce black-lead, red chalk and pastel pencils in his industrial plant.

By 1866, the company had grown 54 employees and produced 15,000 gross (or 2,160,000 pencils) per year.

Between 1900 and 1901 “Noris” brand – that is still a preferred brand with British schools – was created alongside of the Mars brand. Staedtler now has over 20 global subsidiaries and seven manufacturing facilities with over 85% of its production still taking place at its headquarters in Nuremberg.

The company celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2010.

My Staedtler Noris Pencils: In researching this piece I was amazed to see just how many famous authors prefer to write in pencil – even if lap-tops, or way back, typewriters are available. I have always used these classic pencils to take notes during meetings and to make changes to draft documents. I buy boxes at a time as I go through them so quickly – or is it that they are stolen by my children….

Your Staedler Noris Pencils:

Photo by Staedtler

Mont Blanc Rollerball pen


Launched: 1924 – the first Meisterstücks were launched.

It was a Hamburg banker, Alfred Nehemias, and a Berlin engineer, August Eberstein, together recognised the signs of time and decided to produce pens, back in the 1906. A short while later Wilhelm Dziambor, Christian Lausen and Claus Johannes Voss took over the business and the foundations for the modern future of Mont Blanc was set.

Their first model, Rouge et Noir, was launched in 1909 and in 1910 the pen which was to give the company its new name, “Mont Blanc” was debuted. The Meisterstücks (or “masterpiece” in English) was first used in 1924 on Mont Blanc’s fountain pens.

Modern Meisterstücks include fountain pens, ballpoints, rollerballs, pencils, and even a highlighter pen. Unlike vintage Meisterstücks pens, modern variants are usually constructed from a composite resin as opposed to celluloid and bear most similarity to the Meisterstück designs of the 1950s. However, in keeping with the previous models using higher-end materials, such as precious metals, these are available under the sub-brand of “Solitaire”.

The company was acquired by Dunhill in 1977 and today forms part of the Rupert Family’s Richemont Group alongside Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Baume et Mercier.

I love writing whether that is tapping out on a keyboard with a minimal number of fingers or long-hand in my scruffiest writing. My poor handwriting is made legible by me using my Mont Blanc Rollerball. I use the fine refills and something miraculous happens making my sort of Doctor scribble like fine calligraphy.

I am lucky enough to have owned a fountain pen – the big fat one, several pencils and usual ball point pens in the Mont Blanc Meisterstuck range I even very happily received a leather sleeve – like a cigar tube a number of years ago that is branded with the Mont Blanc snow-flake and carries at least four pens.

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Would you like your own Mont Blanc Meisterstuck Rollerball? I cannot recommend this wonderful pen more highly. Click the following AMAZON link – MontBlanc Meisterstuck Rollerball Pen – Black

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Photo courtesy of Mont Blanc

Ray-Ban Wayfarers

Founded 1937 – Ray-Ban Wayfarers were launched in 1952

History: The iconic Ray-Ban sunglasses brand best known for its Wayfarer and Aviator models, was founded in 1937 by Bausch & Lomb, a US medical equipment manufacturer corporation, based in Rochester, New York.

In 1929, Lieutenant General John MacCready of the US Army Air Corp, asked Bausch & Lomb to create aviation sunglasses that would reduce the distraction for pilots caused by the intense blue and white hues of the sky. A major concern was goggle fogging up causing blindness at high altitudes. The prototype in 1936 was refined and remodeled with impact resistant lenses and a metal frame to become the Ray-Ban Aviator, which was patented in 1939.

In 1952, Ray-Ban created the iconic Ray-Ban Wayfarer using plastic frames with the now standard G-15 green and grey being introduced in 1953.

Described as “The Intersection between Culture and Fashion” the past fifty plus years have made the Wayfarer very popular through numerous references in popular culture including being worn – virtually always – by Jack Nicholson, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, being name-checked in a song “Boys of Summer” by former Eagle, Don Henley, and being reimagined in the New Wayfarer with a slightly softer eye shape.

The range of available colours and patterns celebrates the iconic and timeless design of the Ray-Ban Wayfarer; it also permits clear self-expression. This includes the work of the You-tube vlogger, Casey Neistat, who’s pair of Wayfarers are subjected to extensive customization including white spray-can paint and the removal by angle-grinder of telltale logos. However, they continue to be unmistakably Ray-Bans!

In 1999, Bausch & Lomb sold the Bay-Ban brand to the Italian group Luxottica for a reported $640 million.

Photo by Luxottica

Lacoste Shirt

Designer: Rene Lacoste

History: Already a successful tennis player winning seven Gland Slam titles in 1926/27, Lacoste found traditional ‘tennis whites’ too restrictive and uncomfortable. Watching his friend, George Horatio Charles Cholmondeley, 5th Marquess of Cholmondeley, playing in a more practical pique-cotton polo shirt he had a great idea. Commissioning an English tailor to make a few shirts they were soon the choice of many.

Lacoste debuted his shirt at the US Open in New York City in 1926. In 1927, the result of a successful wager he’d made with the French Davis Cup captain, he was given an alligator-skin suitcase that he’d seen in a Boston store. Christened “the Alligator” by the US press, in France their contemporaries nicknamed him “the Crocodile”. His friend Robert George embroidered a crocodile onto a blazer that Lacoste wore for his matches.

Retiring from tennis in the early 1930s, he and André Gillier started La Chemise Lacoste to produce his crocodile-branded shirts. By the early 1950’s the Lacoste tennis shirt arrived in the USA being trailed as “the status symbol of the competent sportsman,” an attempt to establish Lacoste in the upper echelons of society.

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My Lacoste shirt: I was, apparently, a gifted tennis player at 12 or 13 and my parents thought that best to see me develop my talents with regular lesson with a man called Blenkarn – who’d been involved in the coaching of the British Davies Cup team. To me is seemed essential to wear the right motivational tennis shirt so my Grandmother – an inspiration woman and very enthusiastic shopper – bought me one – a yellow one, well it was the 1970’s. Nostalgia aside, rolling forward several decades my own kids wore as youngsters the same Lacoste shirts as worn by my wife and her siblings on their many visits to southern Europe, still colourfast after more than 20 years and still iconic whether or not you had any talent on the tennis court.

Your Lacoste shirt😕

Photos by Lacoste