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Where Rugged Vintage Style Meets Modern Design. Proudly Made in America.

18 Feb '16

Fountain Pen Time!

Ok, I'll admit, this has been LONG overdue.  From the early days of the Twist Bullet Pencil I've had the thought (and many of you have commented) that a fountain pen attachment is a must.  I knew little about them, now I actually know a little and thanks to some great customers/friends I'm finally comfortable enough to make this a reality.  

We've got a start, a very crude one, but it seems like the basics are in place.  The main requirement that the "tube" remain the same has been met so anyone with a Twist tube can now use either a pencil, ballpoint or fountain pen.  Over the next few weeks a little nip here and tuck there and we should be ready to add a third option to the Twist line up.

Check out the first prototype video pinned on our Facebook page here and give us a like while you are at it.  https://www.facebook.com/metalshopct/videos/577859732379075/

08 May '15

What is it?

So what is this thing called a Bullet Pencil? How does it work and why do I need it?

The short answer.

The Twist Bullet Pencil is a modern & improved take on a vintage pencil holder. A portable, pocket-friendly pencil holder that protects your pencil and your pocket. Now say that 3 times fast!

Now for a little more detail.

Essentially, a bullet pencil is a fancy pencil holder, designed to keep your pencil point safe when not in use. It’s really that simple. Bullet pencils first emerged in Britain in the the late 1890‘s using spent .303 rifle cartridges to house a small pencil. During the holiday season of 1914, Princess Mary gifted British soldiers a care package containing a pencil made from a spent .303 cartridge case along with other essentials like cigarettes and pipe tobacco. With thousands of British soldiers now familiar with this novel idea of a pencil housed in a bullet casing it was just a matter of time before the concept was given a commercial application as advertising and promotional pieces. Between the 1930 and 1950 hundreds of thousands of bullet pencils were made (though now with “bullets” that weren’t really spent bullet casings.) In fact they were so common they were handed out as freely as business cards are handed out today. The American version of the bullet pencil was typically a plastic or wood tube with a small aluminum molded or drawn “bullet” that held the pencil in. A quick Ebay search of vintage bullet pencils will bring up pages of results for some really cool examples of these items.

Original Bullet Pencils Housed in Spent Rifle Cartridges


Mid 1900's Vintage Advertising Bullet Pencils


Why did we re-make it?

When I first learned about the vintage Bullet Pencils, I picked up a few and really took a liking to them. I thought the vintage bullet pencils were fun and a simple way to always have something to write plus they are a great conversation starter. Metal Shop's focus is finding cool vintage products and putting a modern touch on them. So, with the vintage bullet pencil being cool, unique and conversation pieces, we found a perfect product to "modernize" and add to our selection of products.

What makes the modern version different?

Instead of plastic or wood tubes we use machined aluminum turned on a CNC router. Instead of a simple drawn aluminum bullet we offer two machined versions in your choice of brass or aluminum. The next improvement is what makes it the “Twist”. The traditional bullet pencil had a friction fit, the Twist (hence the name) uses a series of threads to both insert the pencil nub into the bullet as well as the bullet into the tube. The best part is the Twist Bullet Pencil is 100% made in America!

The Modern Improved Twist Bullet Pencil (Photo by TJ Gosgrove)

How does it work?

Simply unscrew the bullet from the tube, turn it around and insert the non-pencil into in the tube, screw tight and write. It’s that easy.

Why do I need it?

You don’t need to be a pencil fanatic to own a Twist Bullet Pencil. If you are a fan of well crafted products made in America; if you are always looking for something to write with or if you need a truly unique gift for someone special, the Twist Bullet Pencil is for you.

Alternate answer from one of our loyal customers, "you don't need it, but you want it!"

29 Apr '15

Turning the Tassel - Give a Unique Graduation Gift

Graduation season is upon us with all the pomp and circumstance. College graduates are preparing to move on to the real world, while high school graduates are preparing for their first taste of independence away from Mom and Dad. Graduations are grand life milestones and should be recognized and celebrated.

With celebrating this milestone, the age old dilemma, whats the perfect graduation gift that symbolizes this transition? A quick search for graduation gifts turns up the same time tested gifts. A briefcase for that first job, gift cards or maybe even an alarm clock (can’t sleep in on the first day on the job). Think of these like the tie or dozen golf balls for dad on Fathers Day. Time tested for sure, but predictable, mundane and far from a unique graduation gift to be cherished for decades to come.

A truly unique gift for your graduate is something that none of his or her friends would receive, a graduation gift that is a conversation starter (perfect for beginner networkers). A unique gift is something that isn’t mass produced or marketed, a gift that evokes a response that is from the heart. Buy a unique graduation gift that gets a real “wow!” and not just “Nice, thanks.”

Of course, we're going to recommend our Twist Bullet Pencil (or Pen too). We at Metal Shop also recommend finding something from one of the many small entrepreneurs creating products that aren’t on the top of the google search for "gifts for grads." You’ll not only evoke a response that is truly from the heart, but you will support small businesses and the Made in America movement. So search around. Find out where your graduate's passions lie and find them that unique graduation gift that fits the importance of the occasion.

Typical and mundane above.  Unique and extraordinary below.