Frixion Erasable Pens

Frixion erasable pens are hugely popular in Japan, but relatively unknown in the States. I didn’t even hear about them myself until 2012, though the product has existed for 5+ years.

Frixion pens are not the smearing horror pens that you may have used in school — the ink is not rubbed away — it actually becomes invisible when heated with an erasing motion of the rubber tailcap. No eraser dust is generated.

This pen allows me to take correctable notes at work at the speed and detail I desire, yet have the text be dark enough that the resulting documents can be read when scanned.

As electronic documents become more popular, I think Frixion pens will have a bigger role in replacing mechanical pencils, whose gray output is not always clear when scanned.

The pens come in gel, marker, and highlighter types with various colors. They are easy to come by at your local office and grocery stores, and are as cheap as $2 a pen.

Of course, I wanted something with a finer tip, and more business-appropriate, so I sprung for a 0.4mm, metal-frame LF-2SP4-B business-style Frixion pen.

Note: Because the ink disappears under heat, do not leave your notes in a car on a hot, summer day, as they will disappear. They are recoverable by putting the document in the freezer, however. That brings up a concern about whether or not text erased by the tailcap can be recovered in the freezer. From my experience, when the tailcap is used to erase text, it’s mostly unrecoverable by the freezer method.

-- Kaz Mori  

Pilot FriXion Ball Erasable Gel Pens
Prices vary based on model

Available from Amazon

Parker Jotter Pen

Earlier this year I purchased a Parker Jotter stainless steel pen based purely on its cool factor as being the pen that James Bond used in the 1995 film Goldeneye, as I had seen on the Bond Lifestyle web page. I searched for it online and ended up purchasing one from my local office and art supply store. I appreciated its sleek design and modest price coupled with the cool factor instantly… but the more I used the pen during my work days the more I came to appreciate it, for you see this pen ultimately changed my life.

As a teacher I am called upon to sign documents on a near daily basis — sign this attendance report, sign this behavior report, write a tardy slip, sign this check out form, etc. It seems never ending. I found myself constantly fumbling for a pen, having to borrow pens that had bits of tape on them or had been turned into paper-mache flowers to make sure they didn’t “walk away” in someones pocket. It was humiliating, but what is one to do when operating on a modest teacher’s salary? Plastic pens were pedestrian and forgettable, clicking gel pens with oversized rubbery cushioned grips were tedious when removing or inserting into the standard pen-socket that my button up shirts provided. Only the Parker Jotter was suitable for my needs! Its slippery profile glides into my shirt pocket, the light weight barely noticeable. It is easily retrieved and the polished components in the pen cap provide the authoritarian click that I need to sign these endless cascades of documents with prudence. Its smooth writing allows my own graceful chicken scratch to be properly rendered, with little hand cramping during extended grading sessions. At a modest price of between $10 to $15 for the stainless steel model, this classic writing implement should be owned by all. When I rise at the ungodly hour required and begin my daily rituals of preparing for my work life, I experience a sense of satisfaction when I pick up my Jotter and realize there is one more thing to look forward to.

Compared to similarly priced models the Parker Jotter provides value. I have a Zebra F-301 that I carry as a backup and find the design to be over wrought, with a useless and slippery plastic grip. It feels like I am scratching the paper compared to the Jotter. Anyone that appreciates the classic slip stream design of the 60s will fall in love with the Jotter, just as I have.

-- Seth Wilson  

Parker Stainless Steel Jotter Pen

Available from Amazon