Metal-tipped writing instruments appear to be a current fad, marketed under names such as “Forever Pen”, “Inkless Pen”, “Everlasting Pencil”, or “Infinity Magic Pencil”. This is nothing but a stick with a pointy piece of metal at the end which, when dragged over a surface, leaves a line that looks like that made by a hard-tipped pencil. Now, when I was a kid, carpenters often used square pencils made of wood with a core insert of real metallic lead. This made a nice (if wide) mark on wood to indicate where to cut. Why carpenters preferred these and other people didn’t, I never knew nor thought to ask.
Well, it should be obvious that if the tip leaves a mark on the surface, something’s being abraded, so any claim of “forever”, “infinity”, or “eternal” is bogus. Another tip-off (heh) is that if you look for these gadgets on Amazon, you’ll find a wide variety of “inkless pen replacement tips” for sale. If your “forever pen” consumes tips that need to be replaced periodically, just how is it different from a pen that needs new ink cartridges or a mechanical pencil with replaceable “leads”?
If you’re one of those people who went to see The NeverEnding Story movie in the theatre in 1984 and then went to the box office to ask for your money back when the credits began to roll at the end, you might wonder, just how long does the tip on these “forever” pens and pencils really last? Science to the rescue!