The Inkless Metal Pen literally writes in metal

One of the pleasures of writing in pencil is the friction of two solid materials in contact. One of the delights of writing in pen is that you can write continuously without having to stop to sharpen your stylus. Writing in metal, while expensive, provides some of the benefits of both while exhibiting its own unique beauty.

These two (that’s right, two) different metal pen manufacturers come to us by way of champ design blog Dornob. Both models work on the same principle: a tiny amount of metal alloy transfers from the pen to the page. Unlike pencil, it can’t be smudged with your hand, and unlike ink, it doesn’t need to dry. The amount of alloy for each stroke is so tiny that the pens are expected to last a lifetime without needing to be refilled or replaced. You can sharpen the tips for a finer point with a little sandpaper.

Each company takes a slightly different approach. The Inkless Metal Pen by Vat19 goes with a full stainless-steel barrel. Their marketing department, as you can see from the video above, also has a sharp, playful, dudely sense of humor. (The word “awesome” gets thrown around a lot, and there’s a Scrooge McDuck reference.)

Grand Illusions goes a little more highbrow with their Metal Pens. They have two short versions (including one that can be worn as a keychain) and a Beta Pen which comes with a full-length extension in either black or silver metal or cherry-stained wood.

Grand Illusions also appends a short history on writing in silverpoint: “In the Medieval period, artists and scribes often used a metal stylus in order to draw on a specially prepared paper surface. Generally known as Metalpoint, or Silverpoint when the stylus was made of silver, artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer and Rembrandt all used this technique.” My friends, this is music to my early-modern-loving ears. (Luckily, you don’t have to rub your paper with pumice to get these 21st-century pens to make an impression.

The alloy in the Vat19 pen (at least) has trace amounts of lead, so it’s not so good for kids. Both are targeted for designers, lefties (who often have to deal with smearing or smudging ink/graphite as they trace their hand across the page), and geeks who like even their handwriting to be all shiny. (Note: the writing isn’t actually very shiny, more kind of a matte titanium, but you can pretend).

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