There’s No Accounting For Taste in Office Pens

The school where I work has always been very good at providing good pens for the staff to use. The pens they provide are so good there’s now an “I took X” sheet we are expected to fill out every time we take a pen.

My dilemma, of course, is “do I take two pens but only sign for one?” Luckily for my conscience, I don’t use the kinds of pens they provide. (In other words, we’ll never know what I would do.)

The pens cover all the categories from waterproof pigment pens to gel pens to ordinary ball point pens.

The black pens. Uni-Ball Signo UM-100; Uni PIN water proof; Zebra Jim-Knock; Zebra N-5000.

The black pens. Uni-Ball Signo UM-100; Uni PIN water proof pigment pen; Zebra Jim-Knock; Zebra N-5000.

The blue pens: Uni-Ball Signo UM-100; Sakura Pigma Micron 03; Zebra N-5000.

The blue pens: Uni-Ball Signo UM-100; Sakura Pigma Micron 03; Zebra N-5000. The Sakura is very tempting…

Before I went full pentard with fountain pens, the pens I used to mark exams were either a red Signo UM-100 or a UNI PIN water proof (an older version).

The main requirements for a marking pen are: thick line that doesn’t bleed through on to other papers; good ink supply; a tip that doesn’t suddenly go dry; and a tip that doesn’t jam up as you mark harder in harder in increasing frustration. (The UNI PIN were especially bad at the latter test.) The problems were that over time the Signo built up gunk around the tip and needed to be wiped off and the marker-style tip of the UNI eventually wore down or got smashed in frustration.

I eventually moved to a red Pilot Vanishing Point filled with Pilot Red Ink for marking. It was comfortable to hold and had a decent ink supply. Although the ink supply wasn’t as good as a ballpoint or a gel ink pen, stopping to refill ink every now and then forced me to take a break and gave me a chance to find some whisky. (The timing of whisky to exam marking will be dealt with in another post.)

This year I’ll be marking my exams with a TWSBI Mini loaded with purple ink. There’s no particular reason for this other than 1) purple is one of the school’s colors; 2) it’s an excuse to use the pen more and 3) I’m interested in seeing the psychological effects of the purple ink on the students; and 4) I’m always looking for ways to use up my ink supply.

 

 

 

One thought on “There’s No Accounting For Taste in Office Pens

  1. Pingback: Easing the Pain With Purple | Mere Blather

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