1. Johnny,

    Have you seen the Orange bodied Bics? The solid ones I believe are called Bic Fines and they have a pencil like look.

    And why did you mention space pens? Now that I have given myself permission to move beyond fountain pens, I’m looking at ball pens and wanting to explore! I’ll have to wait a bit though because I’m loving my Bics right now.

  2. Hooray for the Bic Cristal! They may not be all that glamorous, but they’ve become iconic and ubiquitous for a reason: they pretty much just work, and for dirt cheap, and for a good while. And the hexagonal shape is nicely familiar to the fingers for us pencil folk.

    I do have two Fisher Space Pens (bullet models, with the clips lost). I have some issues with the ink globbing with these, but they do write anywhere and on just about anything, and the small, smooth shape fits so well in a pocket (nothing to snag). When I head out for a walk, I often stick one (and a folded-in-half index card) in a back jeans pocket for any gotta-write-that-down thoughts that occur along the way. They also fit in my mandolin case pocket. :)

    • I wonder what the smell of fresh Bic ink and freshly-cut Cedar Pointe would smell like together?

  3. Matt Kerr

    I have been looking for a place to admit this but I like the Bic Cristal. I love my fountain pen, I have a world of pencils that I prefer to any pen but recently I was preparing for a big exam and I didn’t want to use a fountain pen on whatever paper they provide and you were not allowed to use pencils for the essays. I tried in one afternoon as many pens as I could find and bought a few “recommended by the internet” (RBTI) pens. It was a wonderful waste of time/learning experience. The RBTI pens were all lovely and my writing was close to unreadable. Using the Bic Cristal I had found my writing was legible and the size was a little more like a pencil. Turns out I don’t really like rubbery grips. I went out and bought a bag of 10 for $1 AUD. One of them served me well for several pages of essays and since that day I have not had any problem lending someone a pen… Try as I might the damn things just wont sharpen well…

    • Well-said, Matt! I am over the super squooooshy grip phenomenon also.

      I can’t get them to sharpen, but I suspect it’s got something to do with the steel KUM uses in their sharpeners and the polystyrene barrel being in cahoots… :)

  4. One of the best pens in the world the BIC Cristal. You may be surprised at how many different one there are. BICs are one of the pens that I collect and I have over 500 different ones going back to the 60s. It seems that there is a different BIC for each country of the world.

      • Yes it is a big collection that never seems to stop growing. I have been collecting for many years and I still can ot believe the number of BICs that are out there. By the way if you would like a few of the old ones just shoot me an email with address. I have plenty.

  5. Sapphire

    The bestest thing about Bics is that you never have to buy one. Stroll into any any classroom at university and there will be a Bic on one of the desks. A lot of them are nearly empty and missing the cap but that’s not a problem. Just keep a couple of caps around.
    Cheap? Who are you calling cheap?

  6. *Stands up*

    Great post! I, too, still use pens often, and BIC pens are among my favorite. Some of my favorite promotional pens to get are Bic Clics, like the Draplin Design Company pen. That’s on my desk right now.

    Those yellow-bodied ones are excellent! My friend Lito from Palimpsest got me a bunch of them in the UK in Green, my favorite ink color.

    I was going to link to a great “How It’s Made” video about the making of the Bic Cristals, but apparently Discovery Channel made YouTube take it down. )-:

    • Andy, we have to get Tim in on the Cristal love on Erasable. Or might that be sacrilege? Plus, I lose all of my deniability about using ink? :)

      A funeral home my father’s family always used had burgundy Clic pens with their logo, and gold trim. Tons of them. I like the creepy vibe they give me now. And I love the…smell of that plastic.

  7. Caleb

    Great post! Great site!
    I work with a 70ish year-old lawyer who has been using the bic crystal religiously for 40 years. He taught me that the cap makes a great staple remover:
    Flip the pages over – slide the (well dang – what you call this part of the cap) skinny, tapered, sharp part of the cap under the two staple ends and lever them up – flip the pages back over – then slide the skinny end of the cap under the staple and gently lever it out! Usually works like a charm and does a cleaner job than most staple removers.

  8. Helmut Aulgur

    Dear Johnny,

    Thank you for a wonderful article! I have fond recollections of my childhood in the 1960’s when Bic pens were cool and were in use by almost every schoolchild. Of course, the children of “better families” were using click-style pens, which were more costly than a lowly Bic pen.

    Perhaps you can answer a question as you wrote about getting an older set of French-made Bic blue pens.

    I recently bought a 1950’s Cartier Paris 2-color pen which uses Bic pen inserts. The barrel loads a Bic refill at both ends, one red, one blue, having a corresponding color band on each end of the pen. It seems that even Cartier did not want be left out of the French Bic craze of the 1950’s.

    The 2 Bic ink tubes in my pen are screwed in – they have threads on the plastic end tip which screws them into the barrel of the pen. I am trying to locate Bic pens from which I can remove the identical screw-in ink tubes.

    It seems from photos on the internet that all newer Bic’s have a pressed in refill without threads on the end where it goes into the barrel?

    Do your French Bic pens have a “press in” or a “screw in” ink tube in the barrel?

    Wondering where I can find screw-in ones to fit… Although Bic press-in ink refills might fit, it’s just not period correct and authentic to the 1950’s pen.

    Thanks for any insight that you may wish to share.

    Best regards,

  9. In the intense heat of a Southern summer sometimes just nothing will do better than an ice cold PBR tall boy. Or Coors.

    But….back to Bic’s…….I like the bold Cristal’s.

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