pen pal

Sixty-one years ago today, the ball-point pen was patented in the USA by Laszlo Biro. I’ll bet he would have never guessed that his invention would be a pal.

Call me crazy, but I grow attached to pens. I rarely lose writing utensils and as a result, have had some for several years. In fact, I still have pens from more than 10 years ago. Pens, as with most things, die. Some call it running out of ink, but I still miss them and look upon their replacement with a measure of distrust.

You see, when I use a trusty pen that has never failed to write, it’s disappointing when it stops working, but a particular brand of pen has earned my devotion because of its solid reliability. Their pens always write except for one reason – when they’re out of ink.

The company is Sanford, and I bought a box of the retractable Eagle Saga pens (item #79011) a few years ago and my problem is solved. When a pen stops working (I’ll usually check to make sure it’s out of ink, but every time I’ve checked, the ink was all gone) I can replace it with a twin and barely notice the difference.

Before finding the Saga Eagle it was a hassle to find a replacement because a new pen rarely writes the same way as the old pen, and there’s no way to know if it will be as reliable. You also want to avoid pens that require shaking or licking to convince them to write, like many hotel pens, but the only way to know is to use it.

I just looked on the Sanford web site and only found refills, but I have plenty of pens left for the time being and buying replacements will probably be cheaper anyway.


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  1. Do you write a lot? I try to avoid it and type everything if possible. Besides my signature, I don’t write much except little to dos in my planner. If I ever get a PDA, that writing will go away, too.

    Comment by Renee on June 10, 2004 @ 10:48 am
  2. That’s a good question, because I don’t write nearly as much as I used to, but I occasionally write letters and take notes at work, so I still write almost every day.

    Comment by dan on June 10, 2004 @ 10:49 am
  3. I really like Fisher pens. You can go the web site to read all the cool stuff about them, but my favorite feature is that the ink is pressurized, so you can write upside down. I don’t find myself writing upside down very often, but I’ll sometimes use a wall or something like for quick note taking and normal pens don’t handle that very well.

    They also write really smoothly. I don’t like scratchy pens, so the smoothness is a big factor for me. :^)

    Comment by mckay on June 10, 2004 @ 11:21 am
  4. I’ve heard about those pens but I also like the price of the Eagle Sagas. Even the economy Fisher pens are $10 a piece. I think I paid less for 20 of the Saga pens.

    Comment by dan on June 10, 2004 @ 1:54 pm
  5. I’m not much of a pen connoisseur; I write with whatever pen is handy. I have had a couple of Cross pen and pencil sets, though, and I’ve really liked them. The ink cartridges are larger than the standard thin ones in throwaway pens, so with my infrequent writing they seem to never run out. They’re also made of metal, so they have a nice sturdy feel to them.

    Comment by Levi on June 11, 2004 @ 12:32 am
  6. I tend to loose pens almost as fast as I loose sunglasses. But it’s okay since I get tons of free pens from my brother and from my work (gifts from companies like ESPN, HBO, Starz and Playboy). When having to purchase a pen (rarely happens) I tend to go straight for the Pilot EasyTouch. It’s such a smooth writing pen.

    Comment by Mel on June 11, 2004 @ 10:54 am

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