Write Notepads Telegraph Pocket Notebook Review

The Season 2 premiere of Write Notepads' quest for notebook domination is pretty great. In a similar style of the Lenore release, the Telegraph celebrates another figure from the 1800's, this time Samuel Morse. Morse was the inventor of the Morse telegraph system and one of the early pioneers of telegraphy. His eponymous code is still used today. This wouldn't be a Write Notepads release without some connection to Baltimore; the first official, government-sanctioned telegraph line extended from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore via the B&O Railroad. This is where the famous line "What Hath God Wrought" comes from. While he was not the sole inventor of the telegraph, his name will always be associated with the technology and the code it used to bring the world a little bit closer.

The set.

Box detail.

Book cover word mark.


These notebooks are beautiful, of course. Write Notepads has a way of making things very ornate but minimal at the same time. The front of the gray box features a picture of Morse* from his later years surrounded by an elaborate frame stamped in gold foil. The foil is also used on the total front frame, the Morse signature, and the Write logo on the top panel. The tab that holds the box together has the quote "What Hath God Wrought" as a little easter egg when you open it. The inner flaps holds another surprise, they have the original patent drawing of Morse's machine.

The cover is where they get minimal. The same gray paper from the box is used, 100# cover. On the front, they foil-stamped the Telegraph word-mark and underneath made a line from Morse code, which also says "telegraph". But here's the best part: on the backs, they have a different quote in Morse code for each book. The word on the street is that there are a lot of sayings, but not every single book they produced has a different quote. The pack I opened had the following quotes:

What hath God wrought?
— Samuel Morse, in first official transmission, from Numbers 23:23.
The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.
— Mark Twain
Dear Jack: Don’t buy one more vote than necessary. I’ll be damned if I pay for a landslide.
— John F. Kennedy

The inside covers are blank, as usual.

JFK quote.


Back to ruled! Don't get me wrong, the In The Pines dot grid was cool and I'm glad they branched out and added another layout option. However, I am a lined junkie, so I'm happy to see it back. The paper is their usual 70# that's good for most writing tools you can throw at it. The books are 3¾" by 5½" with that extra quarter inch taken up by the Perfect binding. The ruling is a nice soft green with the left side ledger margin like the line-ruled books in their standard offering. There isn't a writing test because these are the same paper as previous pocket editions.


At press time, subscribers have not received their extra. They were shipped separately and behind the notebooks, so they should land any day now. This post will be updated when I receive mine.


Vertical imprint.

Man, I love getting free pencils as part of the subscription. Like the In The Pines pencil, these are made of cedar instead of the basswood from the previous editions. Musgrave makes these, and I tell you, I would use more Musgrave pencils if they were like the ones they make for Write. They are a bit thinner than the standard Musgrave basswood pencils, and feel very similar in thinness to the USA Gold. The core is HB #2 and seems truer to grade than the In The Pines pencils, which were a hair darker and softer than the previous Write pencils. Maybe ITP was an anomaly, but it's one I love and I'm glad I have extras. At any rate, the pencil has a light yellow, almost cream finish. It looks like a faded standard yellow, and it's lovely. There's not another pencil in my collection that looks like it. The imprint runs vertically, so it breaks the Write tradition of having left-handed imprints. I don't have to feel bad about being a righty any more! The ferrule is a gold that looks like it has a bit of patina to it. These are either old ferrules they found in the back room or they were made like this. Either way, it matches the aesthetic of the pencil perfectly. The eraser, as most pencil nerds know, sucks because it's the stock junk pink Musgrave eraser. They're hard when they're new and get worse from there. I swear Musgrave got a deal on erasers at some point back in the 90's and haven't gone through them yet.


Once again, a killer release from Write Notepads. Field Notes are quickly becoming #2 in my usage patterns. When my hand reaches into my singles box for a new daily carry, very often I gravitate towards a Write Notepads book. Maybe it's the consistency in paper weight, size, and quality. Maybe I'm finally learning what I need that works for me in my daily usage. Down at it's core, these limited edition releases from Write are just package changes, but I for one am glad they aren't messing up a good thing. And the books are still $9.99.

Available from Write Notepads, notebooks $9.99, pencils $4.99. While they last.

* The picture was taken by Mathew Brady, who studied under Morse, and is best known for his Civil War photography and portraits of artists and writers from the time.