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For the love of pens

Updated on May 23, 2016

The beginning

My passion for pens began as a child. My dad worked at the local post office where many businesses gave him promotional pens, pens with the name of their business on it. He brought them home and I took many of them. It wasn't the names of the businesses that intrigued me, but the way the pens looked and the way they wrote. They were ballpoint pens with either blue or black ink. Some wrote more smoothly than others and I noticed that there were different shades of blue ink.

I've been fascinated with pens ever since. Although I work in the computer field as a technical writer, I still takes notes with pen and paper and sometimes I'll start a new document that way. My work area is filled with many types of pens: ballpoint, gel, felt tip, and roller ball. When I'm in a department store or office supply store, I always stop in the pen aisle to look at the different pens.

Bic pens
Bic pens | Source


There are many different types of pens: ballpoint, roller ball, gel, and felt tip (markers). The most common is the ballpoint pen. It uses a small ball that places ink on the paper. They are inexpensive and are the most popular type of pen. This pen type is older than I thought. I didn't know that it was invented in the late 1880s. According to Wikipedia,

"The first patent for a ballpoint pen[6] was issued on 30 October 1888, to John J. Loud,[7] who was attempting to make a writing instrument that would be able to write "on rough surfaces-such as wood, coarse wrapping-paper, and other articles"[8] which then-common fountain pens could not." -

My favorite ballpoint pens are Bics. They are inexpensive and reliable.

Oil-based ink

Ballpoint pens use an oil-based ink. Unlike other types of pens where the ink takes a little time to dry, ballpoints don't smudge that often. That is nice especially if you are left-handed like me.

Most popular ballpoint pen

Which pen sells the most worldwide?

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Roller ball pens
Roller ball pens | Source

Roller ball

Roller ball pens are also ballpoints. The difference between this pen and the traditional ballpoint is the ink type. Roller balls mainly use a water-based ink although some use a gel ink. If you really like writing with pens, appreciate journals and different types of paper, you will appreciate roller balls. They write smoothly and the wet ink looks nice. However, it takes a little time to dry and smudges more often than a ballpoint pen. The ball in a roller ball can be smaller than in a traditional ballpoint so a roller ball is a good choice if you need to write or draw with a fine line. If color is important to you, choose this type of pen. There are more water-based color inks than with oil-based.

Gel pens

Gel pens
Gel pens | Source


Gel pens are a type of roller ball. The difference, as the name suggests, is the type of ink. According to Wikipedia,

"A gel pen uses ink in which pigment is suspended in a water-based gel.[1] Because the ink is thick and opaque, it shows up more clearly on dark or slick surfaces than the typical inks used in ballpoint or felt tip pens. Gel pens can be used for many types of writing and illustration." -

Gel pens write smoothly although they can skip on certain types of paper. They have a nice feel but they tend to use more ink than other pen types. You will probably notice that these pens run out of ink quicker than other pens.

PaperMate Flair

PaperMate Flair
PaperMate Flair | Source

Felt tip markers

Felt tip markes are fun to write with. They are great for expressing your feelings, come in a multitude of colors, and different tip widths. They are the perfect tool when you need to make a statement. The tips are pressure sensitive so your writing is darker and thicker when you apply more pressure. Markers are perfect for making signs, posters, marking boxes, drawing, and illustrating.

Sharpies may be the most popular marker currently on the marker. However, I remember when the Paper Mate Flair came out in 1968. At that time, they seemed so different from pens that I was familiar with.

I love pens. Even in our digital world they are still needed. They are easy to use, inexpensive, and allow you to express your thoughts either seriously or creatively.

Your favorite type of pen?

What type of pen do you use most-often?

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The best-selling pen is

The inexpensive, disposable Bic Cristal (also simply Bic pen or Biro) is reportedly the most widely sold pen in the world.[22][25] It was the Bic company's first product and is still synonymous with the company name.[26][27] The Bic Cristal is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, acknowledged for its industrial design.[5][25] Its hexagonal barrel mimics that of a wooden pencil and is transparent, showing the ink level in the reservoir. The pen's streamlined cap has a small hole to prevent suffocation if children suck it into the throat.[28] -


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