Posts from — August 2012
Since pens aren’t living (except maybe to the truly pen addicted), using taxonomy isn’t correct, but it sounds cooler than classification.Â In any case, here is my classification of my swag pens, which were mostly picked up at trade shows:
Just Pens With Advertising
These are just regular pens with some added advertising, typically ballpoints with cheap refills.Â The NXP Microcontrollers pen shown looks better than the classic hotel pen, but it’s nothing special and writes like a regular cheap office ballpoint.Â I normally give these to other, less picky, family members.
Good Looker, But No Substance
These pens look really nice, often with metal bodies, but I’m always let down once I start to use them, because every single time they’ve come with a cheap ballpoint refill inside.Â However, I’m looking at retrofitting a few of the top ones with a decent refill, e.g. a Schmidt, Schneider, or similar.
Second Runner Up: Screaming Circuits
Curvy metal body, bright color, and standard Parker refill equals a pen worth keeping – once it has a decent refill.Â It’s a pretty typical example of a nice swag pen.
First Runner Up: ST Microcontroller Pen
Unique modern style + groovy plastic body + quality, weighty feel + standard Parker refill = a winner!
Sleek, understated style in a metal body makes it the category winner.Â It appears to take Parker refills, but only slimmer ones; for example, the fatter refill from the Screaming Circuits pen won’t fit.Â It looks a bit like my Schmidt capless pen, but the quality isn’t the same — but it’s great for a free pen.
Cool Gadget But No Use
This category includes flashlight pens and other such pens that may look cool, but aren’t great at doing what a pen is meant to do, with limitations such as large bodies and small, cheesy refills.Â They are, however, fun conversation pieces.
Second Runner Up: Sharp Bluestreak Microcontroller Pen
This is just a cool, classic flashlight pen that will never be made again, since Sharp sold their Bluestreak line to NXP.Â Of course, the light is blue.
First Runner Up: Qioptiq Flashlight Pen
This pen isn’t as cool a pen as the Bluestreak, but it’s cooler as a flashlight: it’s got little bubbles that move around, and as the video shows, the colors change.
Winner: Blaze Network Products Rocket Pen
This pen is so totally useless as a pen, but it’s so totally cool to put on my desk.Â It’s another pen that will never get made again (since Blaze went up in flames during the dot-bomb crash), but I somehow managed to snag three of them.
Pens That Are Actually Good Pens
This is the rarest category, swag pens from a company whose marketing folks actually love pens.Â In fact, it’s so rare that I’ve only found examples from
one company two companies.Â So the winners are:
Runner Up: Green Hills Software 25th Anniversary Pen
I re-discovered this pen after I had originally posted this article. It’s an impressive pen, with a real Schmidt 888 rollerball refill (the only rollerball in my collection) and a solid metal body that snaps together with a precise, audible click.
Samtec Signo 207 Grand Prize Winner!!!
Yep, Samtec was actually handing out orange and blue Uniball Signo 207’s at a recent trade show.Â I’ve never before seen a gel pen, let alone a good quality gel pen, as trade show swag.Â After picking this pair up, I made sure to complement the salesmen — and checked if they made anything we could use at work (Samtec makes a variety of connectors).
Note: Added Green Hills pen 8/30/2012
August 9, 2012 2 Comments