The classic BIC 4 color pen

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I miss the orange-bodied fine-points!




A few kids in my class had uber versions of these pens, with… maybe a dozen colours? something like that.

Of course, that made the pen itself pretty huge, and I’m not sure I would have wanted to write with it, but SO MANY COLOURS!


Then why not buy the orange-bodied fine-point? It’s only over 4 times the price.

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They used to be found everywhere at cash register counters alongside the medium point blue-bodied ones for the same price. Now they are costlier special order type things.


Horse Badorties made these cool. But that was over 20 years ago, for me. I’ve rediscovered how awesome a multi-pen can be thanks to UNI’s seriously awesome “Style Fit” system. Build your own: 3, 4 or 5 color pens, gel ink (Signo) or standard ball-point ink (Slipstream). Even add in a mechanical pencil insert. I have several including one that is three colors of mechanical pencil in a clear body. So awesome. Did I already say awesome?

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That pen brings back memories. I had a camp girl friend who once wrote me a letter with every sentence in a different color using one of those beauties.


Thanks for the reminder- my kid also fidgets a lot and I need to get him more classroom approved things he can toy with. This brings back memories.

Besides the BIC pen, I remember taking apart a basic calculator in class. I believe the parts were: two shells, rubber keymat, plastic key caps, main PCB, LCD and two conductive zebra strips. I forget how it was held together- I assume it was screwed together, but I don’t remember carrying a screwdriver back then.

Any other suggestions for things to discretely play with in class? Fidget spinners are not classroom approved (at least for him) and besides, he needs things he can take apart.

Other multi-color pens are:

The Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto that you can fill with up to five cartridges. If you’re near a decent Japanese stationary store, you can even get the cartridges in different line widths.

And there are the gravity-operated pens where you choose the color by the orientation of the barrel. Not that this is a recommendation for this pen- there are lots on Amazon. I stopped using them quite a while ago, and they were annoying because the ink ran out so quickly since they had such small cartridges. Not that I write much anymore either.

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I have a few of these. I’ll write up a review.


A bit expensive for a toy pen, but I’d add the Rotring multi function to the list. I like that it also includes a mech pencil (or stylus back when that was a thing).

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My trumpet teacher from '80 to '83 used one of those to mark up my scores and lessons. He was from the diaphragmatic school of breathing instruction, and so insisted that my ab. muscles be always hard. To test this, he would randomly jab me in the gut with that pen, the little ball on top leaving marks on my belly sometimes. I learned that lesson well.

Never thought much of them for writing.


That is the classic version. (Though with a hole in the ball to hang it instead of the plain ball to help you dial). One of the newest versions has black, red, blue and a mechanical pencil (0,7mm lead, I believe) Expensive too, but quite practical.

Oh yeah, the resistive touchscreen stylus. I’m pretty sure I have a couple of that style pen around somewhere.

I also just saw the Bic comes in a 3-pen+mechanical pencil flavor. (oops, sniped by Angus)

Incidentally, I like how the BBS software automatically adds the affiliate link. Now, how do I make sure boing boing gets their referral fee when buying through the Amazon app? Alternatively, I’m willing to donate directly to the site if only I could figure out how.

I stocked up big time on nearly identical Pentel 4 colour pens last year; the local Staples had a sale on remaining stock. Very good pens, I just tend to break off the clip when fidgeting.

I had a friend in high school who always used one if these because it was the only way he could get a pen with green ink.

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IIRC in Jr High we would remove all but 1 color of pen and use the resultant interior space to pass messages and other tiny items.


Clever. I just wedged notes into the tubing under the desk.

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Lucky kids. I was already in high school when they appeared. Ad campaign from the time:


By the way, the ball on the end of the original was for dialling the phone (and also an homage to the “Bic boy”). In my experience, the ball with a hole in it is insufficiently robust.