Posted in Pens, Stories

The Etymology of Pen Logos, Trademarks, etc

Have you ever seen a thing and wondered why?  No this is not philosophical, I’m talking about names, logos, and trademarks.  The Pelikan pen trademark is a family coat of arms; Frosted Flakes cereal has Tony the Tiger – why? 


The Bic logo has a somewhat mysterious sidekick. “Who is that little guy standing next to the BIC logo?” The answer: the BIC boy, originally a schoolboy. When Marcel Bich founded BIC, it was just a pen company. The first logo wasn’t the recognizable black and yellow we know today. It was just an orange, parallelogram with a handwrittenish “BIC” until 1952 when the schoolboy theme was introduced.

In 1961, the iconic logo was introduced when the schoolboy’s head was replaced with a ballpoint pen ball and he was given a pen to hold behind his back.


Montblanc’s rounded star symbol represents the snow-covered peak of Mont Blanc, intended to symbolizing the brand’s commitment to the highest quality and finest European craftsmanship.” The star was introduced in 1913.

Parker Arrow Clip

Arrows can symbolize quality when shot from a bow traveling fast, being able to traverse great distances, and the ability to reach out and communicate, eventually touching someone. Could also represent the ability of a person to free his or her spirits and travel far and wide. Arrows also represent a singularity of purpose – a way of going directly from Point A to Point B, reaching the heart of a matter, hence the expression “Straight as an Arrow”.

The clip design is attributed to Joseph Platt and Ivan Tefft. Could the symbolism of the arrow influenced the Platt and Tefft’s design? The design patent was filed on October 13, 1932. The Parker Arrow was inspired by Kenneth Parker’s passion for revolutionary transportation and aviation. First featured as a clip on the Vacumatic pen, symbolizing Parker’s pioneering attitude. In 1958 it became the brand’s emblem.


In 1899, Heinrich Koch and Rudolph Weber acquired the company, which became the Heidelberger Federhalterfabrik Koch, Weber & Compagnie, with marketing carried out under the brand name KaWeCo, derived from the abbreviation of Koch, Weber & Compagnie. In 1926, the company officially adopted the name Kaweco. The company goes bankrupt on 24 May 1929, and forced into liquidation. KWG bought the brand and assets, changed its name to Kaweco Badische Füllhalterfabrik, Woringen & Grube, and introduced a new Kaweco logo – a merger of the two company logos.


The former plant manager and chemist Günther Wagner (1842-1930), took over the company soon after in 1878 adopted the Pelikan, the emblem of his family, as the trademark for his “Small Honey Paints”. Honey paints were a type of watercolor common at the time, in which honey was used as a binder.

In designing the trademark, Günther Wagner abandoned what he called the “oval” shape of the shield on which the pelican was displayed. The company logo originally showed a pelican with three chicks in the nest. When Wagner fathered a fourth child, the number of little chicks increased to four. To sharpen the logo’s character and make it more recognizable, the number of chicks was reduced to two in 1937. Then in 2003, reduced to one little chick in the nest.


Mentmore owes its name to the location of its first office in Mentmore Terrace, Hackney, London. Fortunately, Mabie Todd retained the original name opposed to adopting the location of their first UK office as their name. Speaking of Mabie Todd, does anyone know why they choose Swan as the name for their pen?


I’m sorry but am I only the only person who thinks the TWSBI logo looks like it was derived from the biohazard symbol?

TWSBI’s name stands for the phrase “Hall of Three Cultures” or “San Wen Tong” in Chinese. The phrase “San Wen Tong” also brings to mind the Hall of the Three Rare Treasures created by Emperor Qianlong as a memorial to three great masterpieces of Chinese calligraphy. The initials of the phrase “San Wen Tong” was reversed and thus turned into “TWS”. The last letter “Bi” was added with its literal meaning of “writing instruments”. Thus combining the two segments, to create TWSBI.

Back to the logo.  It appears to be a play on Wen 文 times 3, maybe representing the “Three Cultures” or “Three Rare Treasures.”

Now you know the beginning of the story.

Posted in Pens, Stories

TWSBI, Nope, Notta, Not Now

Six months ago I planned on presenting my TWSBI Eco-T but given the current bad behavior of TWSBI, I cannot in good conscience promote their pens. I’m not going to dispose of my TWSBI, I’m simply not buying another or promoting them in general.

What’s Up you ask?

Welp, TWSBI is accusing Moonman and Narwhal of selling copies of some of their models, and retaliating against retailers who sell TWSBI pens along with Moonman and Narwhal pens. Stating they can no longer sell TWSBIs as long as they sell the “impostors.” My position in this is simple, if TWSBI had a patent on their piston-filler mechanism (the issue), they could defend it but they don’t or they have already lost this battle in court. Bullying retailers is not the answer and I’m not going to support them.

My final thoughts, if you are in the market for a TWSBI Eco-T might I suggest a Pilot Prera instead. Or if you want to get back at TWSBI, there are some very nice options available from Narwhal and Moonman.

As I do not feel inclined to reorganize my posting schedule (it goes out through September 2023), instead I am going to highlight Pen News stories (those are super hard to find BTW).

In the News

TWSBI declares war on Moonman and Narwhal – enough already said but if you are interested in reading more might I suggest the post on Rachel’s Reflection, Goodbye TWSBI. It contains many links sourcing additional information on TWSBI’s behavior.

Monblanc Haus opened in Hamburg with a museum, art gallery, hall of fame, and school. A unique destination blends a museum, art gallery, hall of fame, and school elements. Located next to Montblanc’s headquarters, and production facilities for resin writing instruments and hand-ground gold nibs, the three-story structure also boasts a café, exhibition spaces, an archive, and an academy. “It’s about celebrating writing,” Montblanc chief executive officer Nicolas Baretzki.

Montblanc Haus

BIC Launches U.S. Program To Recycle used Pens, Pencils, Markers The “Write” Way. Stationery Recycling Program, allows consumers to send in all brands of pens, markers, mechanical pencils, highlighters, glue sticks, watercolor dispensers, and paint sets to be recycled for free. Participation is easy: sign up on the TerraCycle program web page, and a prepaid shipping label is provided. Simply packaged the used items and drop them in the return mail. The returned pens, etc are melted down to hard plastic that is remolded to make new products.

Pen pals, one from Ohio and Brazil, were finally able to meet each other in person after 33 years of letters. My hand hurts thinking about this.

Staedtler Upcycled Pencils announced a process to manufacture upcycled wood pencils from wood chips produced in the wood processing industry. Upcycling transforms residual or wastes materials into something new.

Pelican announces M605 Tortoiseshell-Black special edition. “Each writing instrument is a truly unique piece. The distinctive series, consisting of a piston fountain pen and a ballpoint pen with a twist mechanism, captivates with its appealing and individual play of colors with black and white nuances. This means that no two writing instruments look the same, which is what makes this series extremely interesting.” merges with The Pen Family. “ will continue as an online retailer of brands such as Nakaya, Sailor, Pilot-Namiki, and Platinum, and as a retailer of Pen Family brands such as Armando Simoni Club, Bexley, and Wahl-Eversharp. All pens will continue to be offered with the options for tuning and customization developed.”