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SkilCraft Pens


TomcatPC
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Give this another week and you will start seeing these posted on eBay!

 

TomcatPC.... you never know what will become collectible. Back when I started very, very few people had any interest in WWII helmets or Vietnam field gear. As you will see by the threads on the Forum, that has changed quite a bit.

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It was tools such as these that ensured the collapse of Communism and fall of the Berlin Wall! LOL!

Yeah, the Commies couldn't keep up with our superior writing implement technology!

 

By the way, the pen with the solid metal washer is the earlier model, so I propose we designate it a "Type 1". The striped washer ("Type 2") came out later. The recycled one must have been after my time because I don't remember seeing them while on active duty. I'm still in the Reserves and work in a government office, and the government has pretty much gone to buying commercial pens of higher quality.

 

Bill

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Mine have provonance, they were all collected in the line of duty. I wouldn't be suprised if someone specializes in collecting these, there is a collector for everything.

 

Writting instrument collecting is a thriving hobby. We might be suprised at the number of people who collect pens, pencils ect.

The old G.I. ball points I remember from the 60's were plain, black and only said "U.S. Government", on them. Guess I should have saved a few for my militaria collection! :lol:

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Even though this topic may seem inane to some, I remember a Vietnam reenacting thread here on the forum where one of the criticisms was the use of a modern Skilcraft pen as opposed to the model that would have been used durng the 1960's.

 

So maybe this thread should be penned, er I mean pinned as a reference!

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craig_pickrall

I will be happy to pin this if so desired but I feel that the following should be considered before pinning.

 

There is probably no major concern of any family member wanting Dad's old pen back since no family names have been mentioned so far BUT there is an excellent chance of getting the attention of the FBI investigating the theft of precious government property.

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I will be happy to pin this if so desired but I feel that the following should be considered before pinning.

 

There is probably no major concern of any family member wanting Dad's old pen back since no family names have been mentioned so far BUT there is an excellent chance of getting the attention of the FBI investigating the theft of precious government property.

 

I'm still employed so I'm OK.

 

Just checked my collection and all are type 2 mediums. I'm going to have to go in and rifle through some drawers.

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I will be happy to pin this if so desired but I feel that the following should be considered before pinning.

 

There is probably no major concern of any family member wanting Dad's old pen back since no family names have been mentioned so far BUT there is an excellent chance of getting the attention of the FBI investigating the theft of precious government property.

 

To quote Radar O'Reilly "That pen's not stolen... it's right there!" LOL!

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craig_pickrall

Okay, I'm pinning it but don't blame me when the investigation starts.

 

Jim, do you think you will still be employed after they get through with you. I bet they find all sorts of pens when they search your home.

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ehrentitle

I should note that Skilcraft is still making office products from pens, to pencils, writing pads, post-it type notes, etc... They are modernized versions of what you may remember from the 70s and 80s. In my office we have a combination of commercial and Skilcrat office supplies. The commercial stuff goes fast and it's usually the Skilcraft stuff that stays on the supply cabnet shelves the longest.

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Say what you will about Skillcraft products vs. more modern items, but as I recall they worked quite fine when on a firing range in the rain or in the dead of the German winter.

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Can someone please explain why this topic was "pinned" and yes you can assume that the quotes are the "new" question mark ................and yes the dots stand for the fact that I passed on an emoticon which might be the old "qoutes" which replaced the timeless ? arhgg ...................

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Camp_Kearny

I work in a government office and I actually prefer the old Skilcraft pens to the cheap Office Depot crap that is on the supply shelves. They write a lot better than the clear plastic pens that they tried to replace them with. I used to bring in my own G2 pens and the like, but they disappeared from my desk. The Skilcrafts never get stolen.

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craig_pickrall
Can someone please explain why this topic was "pinned" and yes you can assume that the quotes are the "new" question mark ................and yes the dots stand for the fact that I passed on an emoticon which might be the old "qoutes" which replaced the timeless ? arhgg ...................

 

 

The reason it was pinned is that a respected member in good standing suggested it. The MISC / UNKNOWN section is one of those areas where members can clown around and enjoy themselves with a joke or two. If a thread like this is a waste of your personal time then it is best left alone rather than ruining it for those that are having fun with it.

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ehrentitle
Give this another week and you will start seeing these posted on eBay!

 

I just checked and they are already for sale on E-bay:

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/USA-U-S-GOVERNMENT-SKI...=item2a070e5d4c

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/Skilcraft-U-S-Governme...=item45f2deff78

 

Here is the description from the second auction:

 

Hard to find Skilcraft Pen made specifically for US government agencies under 70-plus year old Congressional Mandate.

 

The photos are stock photos. The first one shows a blue and a black, this auction is for black only. The second photo shows three pens, this auction is for one.

 

The pen is in original conditon, never used.

 

From the Washington Post:

 

Among the elaborate seals, bronze statues and marble hallways that adorn federal Washington, there is another symbol of the machinery of government that is often overlooked: the lowly ballpoint pen.

 

For more than 40 years, standard black pens have cluttered the desks of thousands of federal employees, hung on a chain at post offices across the country and slipped into the pockets of countless military personnel. Yet few have realized that this government-issue pen has a history to rival that of any monument.

 

Blind workers assemble the pens in factories in Wisconsin and North Carolina under the brand name Skilcraft as part of a 72-year-old legislative mandate. The original 16-page specifications for the pen are still in force: It must be able to write continuously for a mile and in temperatures up to 160 degrees and down to 40 degrees below zero.

 

It has been used in war zones and gas stations, and was designed to fit undetected into U.S. military uniforms. According to company lore, the pen can stand in for a two-inch fuse and comes in handy during emergency tracheotomies.

 

"It's the Coca-Cola of ink pens," said Richard Oliver, operations manager at Industries of the Blind in North Carolina. "Everybody recognizes this pen."

 

The unassuming pen stamped with the words "SKILCRAFT U.S. GOVERNMENT" in white letters has endured despite quantum leaps in communications technology that have rendered lesser tools obsolete. Taking over from the fountain pen, it has withstood the advent of the rubberized "comfort grip" and the freely flowing gel ink, not to mention computers, instant messages and smartphones. The U.S. Postal Service alone orders 700,000 a year.

 

Annual production at the Greensboro, N.C., plant has dropped during the past two decades from 21 million pens to about 4 million, but it remains a bestseller among Skilcraft's office supplies.

 

The National Industries for the Blind is trying to keep it that way by reminding federal agencies that it is the official ballpoint pen supplier to the federal government, even if agencies sometimes buy from other suppliers. The group has been advertising its products and workers with posters and radio and newspaper spots, and it plans to hold a workshop for 1,500 procurement officers in May.

 

"It's still a cornerstone," said Kevin Lynch, chief executive of NIB, an Alexandria nonprofit organization that helps to coordinate production of the pens. "It's a dependable product."

 

Perhaps that is because, like the bureaucrats who use it, the pen is more performance than pageantry. The original design -- brass ink tube, plastic barrel not shorter than 4 5/8 inches, ball of 94 percent tungsten carbide and 6 percent cobalt -- has changed little over the decades.

 

The pen's roots date to the Depression. The 1938 Wagner-O'Day Act required the federal government to buy certain products made by the blind, thereby creating jobs for a then-marginalized population. First came mops and brooms, but the program eventually expanded to include a full line of cleaning and office supplies under the brand name Skilcraft. In fiscal 2009, the program, now known as AbilityOne, raked in a record $658.5 million in sales of products and services.

 

The pens account for about $5 million in sales each year. About 60 percent of business is from the military, but the Agriculture, Commerce and Justice departments are all reliable customers, according to NIB.

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ehrentitle

Oh, I forgot to mention. I checked completed listings for these Skilcraft pins and they are actually selling. In one case, 4 of the older pens for $13.50 + $2.99 postage. With postage that averages around $4.12 a pen!

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Skilcrafts must still be serving. I found one in the pencil pocket of an acu digital I found just recently. A four striper with the top stripe a bit larger. Alas no insignia.

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I just did a sweep of our office cubicles. I found one desk with three SkilCraft pens on it. Everyone else had "private purchase" pens. I, for one, carry a Mont Blanc...not that I need to show off or anything...happened to be a gift a few years back and it made no sense to leave a nice pen sitting on the shelf! I've been through four ink refills so far...impressive!

 

Dave

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From the depths of the supply cabinet at work, taken 05/28/2010.

 

Note the new design of the red pen.

 

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1275105350.jpg

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I do remember my Dad bringing home US Government marked pens that were marked "Property of US Government" home from the 50's and 60's. I used to "borrowed" some from him to take to school I thought it was cool that I was violating a law or something. Perhaps this is what started my habit of procuring government property for my own use down the line.

I used many of these but grew to dislike them when there were better pens to be had commercially. I really hated the white stick "BIC" Skillcraft knockoffs.

 

One of my many collecting hobbies is fountain pens/ink wells. But anytime I see one of these pens at a thrift store I pick them up for nostalgic reasons I guess.

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Didn't see this one yet. This is the one I use the most for my job, the mighty and greatly feared multi color pen. Too bad these aren't refillable, I have to throw them out when the red runs out :whistling:

post-2876-1275485205.jpg

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  • 1 month later...
Steindaddie

Here's a gen-u-ine Skillcraft red pencil from the 1980's. As a USAF crew chief back then these were everyday items. There is also a double ended Skillcraft pencil we used: one end black, the other end red. Given it was a pencil at each end, and therefore had no eraser, I still had to carry an extra pencil with an eraser to correct my frequent mistakes while doing the aircraft forms.

post-1949-1278278135.jpg

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