Just the Facts
We take them for granted. We abuse them, we lose them, forget them, chew on the ends when we are nervous, snap them, tap them, toss them around and let them run out of ink. They have been around since the days of the pharaohs, documenting our lives and our history with nary a thank-you. The importance of the writing instrument is so elementary that we forget that without them, history would be lost. There would be no buried scrolls, no signed declarations and no diary from a young girl in hiding. As historian C.E. Bosworth noted in his article "A Mediaeval Islamic Prototype of the Fountain Pen?," in the year 953, Ma'ad al-Mu'izz, the caliph of Egypt, demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes, and was provided with a pen which held ink in a reservoir and delivered it to the nib via gravity and capillary action. With such a history, it is safe to say, wheel be damned—writing instruments and their accessories may not be the first, but they may very well be among the most important inventions in human history.
Fact: More than 14 billion pencils are produced in the world every year—enough to circle the globe 62 times.
—Musgrave Pencil Company
"Pencils are an inexpensive way to distribute a message to an audience. Many popular imprints include messages with prevention and safety tips from police and fire departments. Other agencies use pencils to support their causes, look for volunteers or thank people for their support. Distribution is often at community events, fairs [and] parades. Popular slogans [featured] on pencils [include] 'The Write Choice,' … and 'Sharpen Your Skills.'"
Denise Morgan, marketing director, AAkron Rule
Popular for any event, the barrel of AAkron Rule's Mood Pencil changes color from the heat generated from your hands. Available in five colors. ?(800) 828-1570
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Fact: Pencils didn't always have erasers. The first patent for attaching an eraser to a pencil was issued in 1858 to a man from Philadelphia named Hyman Lipman. In fact, today in Europe most pencils are still sold without erasers.
"Erasers are a terrific product to build a theme [around] and are very affordable. They are useful in trade shows for traffic builders, can be custom-shaped to introduce a unique product, and [often] are available in prices as low as 12 cents each."
Joe Durand, senior vice president, LarLu/Display-Tec
LarLu/Display-Tec's Custom Embossed Erasers are an inexpensive and fun way to promote brand awareness. They are available in orange, pink, yellow, blue, kelly green, red or black. (800) 533-8052
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Fact: The first great success for the ballpoint pen came on an October morning in 1945 when a crowd of more than 5,000 people jammed the entrance of New York City's Gimbels Department Store. The day before, Gimbels had taken out a full-page ad in The New York Times promoting the first sale of ballpoints in the United States. The ad described the new pen as a "fantastic … miraculous fountain pen … guaranteed to write for two years without refilling!" On that first day of the sale, Gimbels sold out its entire stock of 10,000 pens—at $12.50 each.
—Phil Ament, www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/ballpen.htm Troy MI: ©1997-2007 The Great Idea Finder, May 5, 2006
"Since a single pen may have multiple owners over its lifetime, there is no smarter choice for brand exposure and ROI. We have led the trend in the industry in colorful and stylish choices at excellent price points. We continue to build on our writing instrument success with innovative new styles and a stand-alone writing instrument catalog."
Chris Orcutt, national sales manager, Sweda Company
Available in a wide variety of bold colors, the Translucent Curvaceous Ballpoint from Sweda Company comes with shiny silver accents and a rubberized grip for comfort. (800) 848-8417
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Fact: In 1883, Lewis Waterman, an insurance broker in New York City, was getting ready to sign one of his hottest contracts. In honor of the occasion, Waterman bought a new fountain pen that he considered far more stylish than a cumbersome dip pen and ink well. With the contract on the table and the pen in the client's hand, the pen refused to write, and actually leaked onto the precious document. Horrified, Waterman raced back to his office for another contract, but a competing broker had closed the deal.
Determined to never again suffer such humiliation, Waterman began to make fountain pens in his brother's workshop. Waterman used the capillary principle which allowed air to induce a steady and even flow of ink. He christened his pen, "The Regular," decorated it with wood accents, and obtained a patent for it in 1884.
—Mary Bellis, www.inventors.about.com
"Fountain pens are classic and timeless in their design and make an ideal gift for the most special occasions. For the discriminating buyer who wants to present a unique item that is [guaranteed] to be prominently displayed, the fountain pen is a sure bet."
Katrina McNair, marketing, Senator Promotional Group USA
Hand-crafted, the 1950s replica President's Fountain Pen from Senator Promotional Group USA comes presented in a stunning gift box. It features a diamond-etched gold finish on the trim and medium-point nib. The deep black gloss acrylic body gives it an elegant look. (800) 553-6101
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Fact: 100 billion crayons have been made since before World War I. That means your great, great, great, great grandparents colored with crayons.
—Michael J. Bennett, www.ezinearticles.com
"Crayons are perfect for inspiring young minds and promoting creativity in young children. WOWline's four-pack of crayons are safe, nontoxic and conform to ASTM D4236*."
Margaret Dengler, marketing coordinator, The WOWline
*For all crayon lovers wondering what ASTM D4236 conformity means, here goes: ASTM stands for "The American Society for Testing and Materials." They apply approval to art materials using the code D4236, which means that the particular product has been tested for toxicity and conforms to its safety standards.
4 Pack Standard Crayons from The WOWline include red, blue, yellow and green nontoxic crayons. (800) 655-6650
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