Paper Mate™ PhD Multi Pen
I recently explained that I was looking for a combined pen and pencil for my handbag. The rules were that the pen must include black and red ballpoints and a mechanical pencil, and that refills for the ballpoints and the eraser must be available.
My searches to date suggest that there are currently 4 pens on the British market that match that description within a reasonable price range. In choosing between them, I took into consideration such factors as aesthetic appeal and handling properties. For now, I have plumped for the Paper Mate PhD Multi Pen, shown above.
It features the triangular grip which is in vogue at the moment, supposedly being less tiring to hold for long periods than the traditional round grip. You can change between the different ballpoints and the pencil by gently twisting the two ends of the pen. A handy indicator lets you know which one is currently selected. To retract all points, select a point intermediate between two of them.
If you select the pencil and then continue twisting in an anti-clockwise direction, you unscrew the two parts of the casing, gaining access into the interior, which allows you to replace the ballpoint cartridgess.
The only feature lacking, as far as I can see, is the possibility of storing extra leads in the pencil. It seems that you have to front-load these singly. A reservoir and automatic feed for extra leads will be a feature to add to my list for the future.
This pen comes in two colours. The blue one is as described and the green one replaces one of the ballpoints with a stylus for doiking* your PDA.
The pen works as advertised and the mechanism is light and positive. The ballpoints produce a fine line, which I prefer and seem to give good coverage. The pencil writes like, well, a pencil, and the eraser erases. What more is there to say! The eraser is under the cap, by the way. This snaps on with a positive click but there is always a risk of losing it. That wouldn’t be the end of the world, however, as many models of mechanical pencil sport an exposed eraser. I haven’t tried replacing the ballpoint cartridges yet, so I don’t know how easy that is.
For a pen that is carried in a handbag or in your pocket, a removable clip would be a bonus but I don’t think this clip can be detached.
I emailed the vendors of the Multi Pen, Cult Pens, to ask about storing spare leads and they replied that this is possible, giving instructions on how to do it. It’s a little fiddly, but that’s reasonable, given the constraints on space.
You have to unscrew the barrel (as explained above) and then gently pull out to tip of the pencil mechanism, leaving behind the metal tube that it fits into. You can then put 2 or 3 leads into the tube (in fact, there were already 2 in there) and reassemble the pen. Experiments show that these leads will feed into the pencil as necessary.
What a great little multi pen!
*doik, transitive verb, meaning jab, poke, prick or stab with a shart instrument, by onomatopoeia from the Hanna Barbera Tom & Jerry cartoon, Touché, Pussy Cat!