Made In The USA: Tactile Turn

Anybody else remember being in Catholic school and getting firmly ruler-slapped for fidgeting during class? To this day I have all sorts of odd quasi-autistic habits that I exhibit whenever I’m bored. Moving from a traditional office to a mostly-at-home setup has reduced my fidgeting quite a bit, but I nevertheless continue to expect that part of my life will consist of listening to other people speak and think at (what feels to me like) a Galapagos-esque (Galapagan? Galaxian? Galaga-ish?) pace. I was in a meeting a while ago where it was suggested that we all sit there for 20-some minutes and watch a TED talk. At times like that it would be nice to have a distraction.

The Tactile Turn bolt action pen is made in the United States with what feels like the precision of an 1896 “Swedish Mauser” rifle. There’s no slack in the thing. I got mine in copper, with a Damascus-pattern titanium bolt, because copper is supposed to, uh, kill bad vibes or something.

The basic pens are about a hundred bucks but there are more exotic variants available from time to time. I wish I’d gotten in on some of the Zirconium Damascus items, but I snoozed and therefore lost.

TactileTurn recommends, and supplies, the Pilot G2 gel rollerball insert, which is made in Japan to very high standards, but a few other inserts will also fit. I don’t think any of them are made in the USA. In fact, I can’t think of a pen refill that is still made in the States. There are a few fountain pen inks, and that’s it.

(Edit: A recently-turned-Pro BMX rider informed me that the pen will also support the Hi-Tec C, and that many people prefer that refill.)

Your humble author is a bit of a fountain-pen collector, but I have long been frustrated by the idea that you really shouldn’t fly with a fountain pen. This TactileTurn rollerball is a good replacement. I’ll see what TSA thinks of it; it’s all-metal and sturdy enough that it could possibly be an unpleasant device in the wrong hands. In reality, however, the most dangerous thing most of us will do with the TactileTurn pen is to just sit and click it again, and again… and again.

27 Replies to “Made In The USA: Tactile Turn”

  1. NoID

    Every. Damn. Day.

    Today was a Monday, which means nonstop meetings from 7:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Some hours are double or triple booked, so not only must I suffer interminably, I am forced to choose the manner in which I will be tortured.

    I’d twiddle and fidget the ever-loving crap out of a nice pen like that. I’d probably take more notes, too.

  2. caltemus

    I had a stainless razor handle from them that took regular mach3 blades. Loved that thing and sadly lost it a few years ago.

  3. link3721

    Copper is naturally antibacterial/antiviral due to the way the ions interact with cells. Most germs can’t live on it for more than a few hours. A little better than just “killing bad vibes”.

    I always struggle to find a pen (I like) in the house. I prefer standard ballpoint, not the gel type (which is all the wife ever buys). I should just get one if these and a box of my own refills and hide it in my home office.

  4. John Van Stry

    I love being self-employed. No stupid long meetings 🙂
    One of my proudest achievements were getting rules instituted at -several- companies I worked at that NO meeting could go more than 60 minutes. Because by then everyone was tuned out and we all had better things to do.
    I also made the subtle point that if your meeting took more than an hour you were unprepared.
    You’d be surprised at how many upper level managers love a rule like that, because they hate boring meetings too. (Or at least used to).

    • NoID

      One thing I try to do in meetings I’m hosting is making sure they have an agenda published beforehand and that we have action items assigned and published in the minutes afterwards. Otherwise why did we all convene in the first place? Too many meetings could have been a phone call, and too many presentations should have been a report.

      • dejal

        My boss used to run interference with me about meetings. Whenever I’d hear a brief synopsis about some new piece of code they wanted me to write, I’d have about 80-90% percent already done, “f I steal a bit from this, and some from that I’ll be close”. So, he’d suffer through it for the supposed fine points. I never thought it productive to have to endure it all for 10-20% of meaningfulness. Besides, by the time it was done, it was never as originally envisioned anyways. Either him or me after we got elbows deep into it, would say “That’s F’ing stupid” or “Yeah, if there’s no issues with data or the data being late”. We’d go back to them, they’d say “Oh yeah, you’re right”.

  5. Will

    Never slapped us on the wrist (went to catholic school after all that stopped) but I sure as shit feel awkward around nuns. I am never comfortable until they’re gone; just always think I’m about to be scolded. Hated visiting the vatican because of all the nuns everywhere.

  6. Shortest Circuit

    I wanted to say that if they let my S&W tacticool pen onboard in the hand luggage, you shouldn’t worry either but looking at the prices of those pens, errr… maybe not.

  7. stingray65

    Nice pens, but fortunately/unfortunately I don’t remember the last time I used a pen or pencil for anything. I rarely even have to even sign my name anymore. I’m old enough to have gotten lots of instruction and practice on printing and cursive writing in school, which I understand is a subject that has been dropped by many schools so that more time can be devoted to teaching children about white privilege, social justice, climate change that is going to kill them in 9 years, and the joys of non-traditional family types and sex.

  8. CV

    The venerable Fisher space pen refills are made in the USA.
    Not the most “premium” writing experience, but they *always* write.

  9. John Lock

    Is this an example of privilege? Need to save the $ hundreds for a pen that might last several lifetimes to buy the latest $800-$1500 x model phone that will stop working in roughly two years just as it is paid off….Why would anyone want to buy stuff that isn’t purely for disposability in today’s society?

  10. galactagog

    +1 on the Fisher space pens

    I always lose the black ones though: too hard to see, after you’ve dropped them somewhere. There’s probably a few on the floor of my car

  11. Nolan

    “I have long been frustrated by the idea that you really shouldn’t fly with a fountain pen.”

    You are a grownup — you can fly with a fountain pen.

    I was concerned about this exactly twice; once I flew with a Pilot Vanishing Point (gun metal grey, black nib), inked with Platinum Carbon Black (which due to it’s viscosity seems to almost glue air bubbles into the feeds of VP tips) and couldn’t get a leak out of it, and again when I flew with a Lamy 2K with a Noodler’s eel (lubricating) ink a year later.

    The 2K had a little ink pushed out, which the cap caught. Both were in small plastic bags (I’m not crazy); the VP was in my pocket and the 2K sat in my carry on under the seat, completely forgotten about. Top up your pens before you fly, or just make sure you’ve pushed out most of the air from the converter or cylinder, keep the nib upright and carry on.

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Aha but those are engineered devices. What about my Pelikan M820, which leaks at room temperature? 🙂

  12. John Marks

    The best ballpoint pen I have ever owned is the Caran d’Ache 849.

    One was presented to me, a special edition with the Kudelski NAGRA logo, which was what, back in the day, NAGRA gave you, if a recording you had made with a NAGRA tape recorder got some kind of an award.

    Mine was because of Nathaniel Rosen’s Bach solo-cello Suites, which got several Recordings of the Month or of Special Merit, and a Grammy nomination; and furthermore, they were in-flight music on Air Force One during the Clintonian Captivity. So, who knows what depravity they were soundtracks for!

    Caran d’Ache (Swiss phonetic for Russian for “crayon” or “pencil”–Karandash) still makes the 849, and they have a stockist in North Carolina, and their design collaboration with UK designer Paul Smith is distinctive:

    The 849 is a classic of Mid-Century-Modern design, it is chunky and satisfyingly heavy, and it writes with… gravitas.


  13. Panzer

    Question for the house, does anyone have aby suggestions for american made motorcycle accessories like tank grips or panniers?

  14. Gary

    Been using a copper bolt Tactile Turn every day for over a year now. It’s great. Nice weight, good clip and the copper has aged nicely. I’ve stuck with the G2 ink which is oddly cheaper to buy full pens than refills… go figure.

    Ended up buying two more for Christmas gifts (both in titanium).


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