Long gone are the days when we have to pluck goose feathers and use them for writing. Today, there are thousands of pens and pencils, of all sorts of sizes and shapes to choose from.
Pens have a chamber inside containing a jelly-like ink that flows out at its tip (usually a tiny metal sphere) when in use. The ink immediately dries up after contact with any kind of paper. Pencils, on the other hand, use graphite as leads. The basic difference is that pencils make erasing possible with a rubber attached on the other end or a separate eraser is used.
Aside from being an everyday tool for writing, pens and pencils have been an accessory as well. They are something we use often, so they must look nice as well as functional. Here’s a variety of pens and pencils you can choose from:
Pencils are categorized according to the hardness of its graphite. 2B to 9B pencils are usually used for drawing or sketching. Pencils that are 2H to 9H have hard graphite. The most commonly used pencil, the number 2 pencil, has actually an HB lead. For a quick reference here’s the grade of a pencil’s lead from softest to hardest: 9B- 2B; B; HB; F; H2- H9; H
Mechanical pencil uses a long thin lead. It consists of a thin stick of graphite, wax and clay. Some mechanical pencils used recycled industrial carbon in place of graphite. The lead ranges from 0.5 mm to 2 mm in diameter. The lead is then inserted at the other end of the pencil. Mechanical pencils are often used in drafting. Instead of a sharpener a ‘pointer’ is used to sharpen the lead.
Isn’t it nice to have a pencil with your name on it? Or perhaps put a simple message like “wear a smile everyday” and get to read it every time you need to jot down something. You can choose whatever color and grade of pencil you want. There are also endless designs you can choose. You can pick the ones with smileys on it or your favorite cartoon character like Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse. The possibility is endless.
Ballpoint pens are household pens and often used everyday. They come in very cheap. You can store a dozen of them in the office or at home. They are very convenient to use and you can have one handy on your desk. Common ballpoint colors are red, black, blue and green. You can either choose from disposable pens or refillable ones. You can buy the ones with a cap to protect the tip while not in use or the ones with spring mechanism that retracts the tip.
In comparison to ballpoint pens which use viscous ink, fountain pen use a liquid ink mostly composed of water. The ink is kept in an air pressured reservoir and not dispensed until needed. When writing, that’s the only time the ink flows out of the nib. If sometimes the ink skips, run it cold water to wash out the dry ink accumulated in the nib. For serious clogging, you can leave the nib in a container with water overnight. Some fountain pen manufacturer gives after-sales service if the problem is on the pen’s mechanism itself.
Ballpoint pens are usually used as promotional pens because manufacturing is just about a dollar each. You can print on the name of your company or your organization and give it away for free. It is a very effective and low- cost marketing tool. If you think pens are boring and not good enough as gifts, think again. Jazz up your promotional pens by adding up some games like poker or etch a sketch. You can even pick a scent that comes along with it like chamomile or eucalyptus. It really is a fun way to write!
Yes, you read right. Even NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) allegedly invested thousands of dollars in mid 1960’s to build up a space pen. It’s been mind boggling how one can write in a vacuum with zero gravity and varying temperature. Series of tests were conducted and finally a pressurized pen by Fisher was out in the market in 1965. In the end the astronauts used pencils instead because they are more dependable. The only downside of using pencils in space is that the lead often breaks and can be a hazard when it floats in space.
Just be sure to try several pens before choosing one, if a store won’t allow you this, go to the next shop. Keep in mind that you are going to use these pens and pencils for awhile. Invest in something that would last long and you are comfortable with. Just a quick tip, you might want to scribble the word “Egypt” in script when trying out a pen. This way, you can check if the pen works in all directions of your stroke. Also be sure to have some few sheets under the paper you are writing on to prevent deforming the nib or flat spots. Flat spots are what cause your pen to skip or blot.
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