Vintage Markers I: “edding extrabreit”

Extrabreit: Until the early 1990s the term “extrabreit”, or “superbroad” in English, was an additional labeling of the edding 850 due to the fact that the edding 850 was then – and still is –  the widest marker available on the regular market (of course one can find today every type of huge tagmarkers in graffiti stores…).

The edding 800 “extrabreit”: Some weeks ago I found a bunch of vintage edding 800 markers in a sellout, which seems to be much older than the edding 800 markers I already have in my collection. To my surprise these edding 800 markers were also labeled “extrabreit” and even the rest of the labeling was the same like on the old edding 850. It may be that when these edding 800 extrabreit markers were sold in the 1970s, these ones were the widest markers on the market. After the edding 850 was launched, they simply put the labeling on the new wider marker. Doesn´t make much sense to label two different markers the same way. The other vintage edding 800 markers bear the text “in 10 farben”/”in 10 colours” instead of “extrabreit”. Also the other labeling changed a little…

edding 850_800 superbroad en

… note the different “y”

edding 850_800 extrabreit de

Which one is more “extrabreit”?

edding 800 extrabeit in 10 farben de

in 10 Farben

edding 800 superbroad in 10 colours

in 10 colours

However, either the edding 850 extrabreit or the edding 800 extrabreit inspired a German band to adopt the name “Extrabreit” in 1978. I don´t know if they choose this name for this reason, but “breit” is a synonym for “to be drunk” in German… so you can guess what “extrabreit” may mean.

Missing Colors

It started with the four colors black, red, blue and green in the late 1960s. Soon after, the edding 8oo was already available in ten colors. From this on, the edding 800 came in black, red, blue, green, yellow, orange, brown, purple, pink and light blue for decades. Recently, I learned to my surprise that the last three colors – purple, pink and light blue – has been discontinued already some years ago and the color range of the edding 800 has shrunk from ten to seven colors. I wonder why just the last three colors… does that mean that yellow or brown edding 800 markers are more popular among the costumers?

edding 800 permanent markers pink purple paleblue

edding 800 markers in pink, purple and pale blue

Possession of permanent marker on private property – 13 year old boy arrested

Recently I read an unbelievable article – in particular for Europeans. A 13 year old boy was arrested for possessing a permanent marker in school in Oklahoma City. What happened? According to the article, the boy was writing on a sheet of paper with a Sharpie marker. The marker writing bleed through the paper onto the desk (well, that could happen…). His teacher spotted the scene and after the boy rejected to hand over his marker he got arrested.

What´s going on there? Don´t they have real problems over there? I mean, mankind has a bunch of serious problems – war, famine, oppression, murder… but some people make problems where no problems are. Won´t imagine what would happen to that boy if he had one of the markers we used to possess with 13 – and we didn´t write just on a sheet of paper.

For the full article, click here

Some History about Markers

magic marker

Cut-away view of a magic marker | Schnitt durch einen Magic Marker (Monahan, P; Powell, D.: Advanced Marker Techniques. Mcdonald & Co Publishers Ltd. 1987, p. 14)

Permanent markers belong to over half a century to the daily lives of many people. Whether in the office, at school, in warehouses or used by graffiti writers, permanent markers are now an indispensable part of everyday life. The common name for a permanent marker in Germany is edding, according to the famous German manufacturer of writing products of all kinds. However, many people just call them felt pen when speaking of permanent markers.

The history of permanent markers dates back to 1910. At that time, Lee W. Newman patented the first marking pen; the first modern permanent marker should have been the Magic Marker, which was developed in 1952 by Sidney Rosenthal. According to other sources, the first marker was developed in the early 1960s in Japan and was initially made of bamboo and a piece of felt (see Monahan, P, Powell, D.: Advanced Marker Techniques Mcdonald & Co Publishers Ltd. 1987). The first commercial permanent marker – like the classic example of the Magic Marker – consisted of a small glass bottle with an upper part that held the felt nib. They were marketed in the 1960s. Later the body of the markers was also made of aluminum and plastic. The Magic Marker became popular for illustration in art studios and advertising agencies. The classic “glass bottle”- Magic Marker was, similar to other ones like the Letraset Pantone Marker (Letraset Tria Marker), the Chartpak AD Marker or the modern day Copic Marker range designed as a layout marker.

A typical permanent marker consists of a container (either glass, aluminum or plastic), which is filled with felt or some sort of wadding. This filling serves as a carrier for the water-proof ink. The upper part of the marker contains the nib that was made in earlier time of a hard felt material, and a cap to prevent the marker from drying out. Until the early 1990s the most common solvents that were used for the ink were Toluene and Xylene. These two substances are both harmful and characterized by a very strong smell. Today, the ink is usually made on the basis of alcohols (eg 1-propanol, 1-butanol, diacetone alcohol and cresols).

Artline Popmate Marker detail

Unscrewed top of a marker and wadding inside the markers barrel

poster marker artline

Example of a Paint/Gouache Marker: Parts of an Artline Poster Marker

Parts of the valve

Artline Poster Marker

In addition to the classic permanent marker there are also paint markers with a paint-like opaque ink, which could be also be water-based (Gouache or Tempera). Unlike the classic permanent markers the ink isn´t absorbed by wadding, it´s free flowing inside the marker. The ink flow is controlled via valve action. A paint marker contains in addition a tiny ball (either glass or metal) that mixes the paint when shaking the marker.

Permanent Marker gehören seit über einem halben Jahrhundert zum täglichen Leben zahlreicher Menschen dazu. Egal ob im Büro, in der Schule, in Lagern und Versandhäusern oder bei Graffiti-Writern, Permanent Marker sind heutzutage nicht mehr aus dem Alltag wegzudenken. Die gängige Bezeichnung in Deutschland lautet nach dem gleichnamigen Hersteller von Schreibprodukten aller Art edding, wobei viele Leute einfach Filzer oder Filzstift sagen, wenn sie von Permanent Markern sprechen. Letztere Begriffe bezeichnen jedoch meist Fasermaler für Kinder.

Die Geschichte des Permanent Markers reicht zurück in das Jahr 1910. Damals patentierte Lee W. Newman den ersten Marking Pen. Der erste moderne Permanent Marker soll der Magic Marker gewesen sein, der 1952 von Sidney Rosenthal entwickelt wurde. Anderen Quellen zufolge wurden die ersten Marker Anfang der 1960er Jahre in Japan entwickelt und bestanden anfangs aus Bambus und einem Stück Filz (siehe Monahan, P; Powell, D.: Advanced Marker Techniques. Mcdonald & Co Publishers Ltd. 1987). Die ersten kommerziellen Permanent Marker – klassisches Beispiel ist der Magic Marker – bestanden aus einem Glasfläschchen, dass oben mit einem Aufsatz versehen war, der den Schreibfilz hielt. Sie wurden ab den 1960er Jahren vermarktet. Später wurde das Gehäuse der Marker auch aus Aluminium und Kunststoff hergestellt.

Ein typischer Permanent Marker besteht aus einem Behältnis (entweder aus Glas, Aluminium oder Kunststoff), das mit Filz oder einer Art Watte gefüllt ist. Diese Füllung dient als Träger für die wasserfeste Tinte. Das Oberteil des Marker enthält den Schreibfilz, der früher tatsächlich aus einem harten Filzmaterial bestand, und einer Kappe, die das Austrocknen des Markers verhindern soll. Bis in die frühen 1990er Jahre waren die gängigsten Lösungsmittel, die für die Tinte von Permanent Markern verwendet wurden, Toluol und Xylol. Diese beiden Stoffe sind sowohl gesundheitsschädlich, als auch durch einen sehr charakteristischen intensiven Geruch gekennzeichnet. Heute wird die Tinte von Permanent Markern meist auf Basis von Alkoholen (z.B. 1-Propanol, 1-Butanol, Diacetonalkohol und Kresole) hergestellt. Neben den klassischen Permanent Markern gibt es auch sogenannte Paintmarker bzw. Lackmalstifte mit einer lackartig deckenden Tusche, die teilweise auf Wasserbasis hergestellt wird (Gouache oder Tempera).