Man re-releasing original 1962 Space Needle World's Fair penson May 7, 2012 @ 11:30 am (Updated: 12:59 pm - 5/7/12 )
The Seattle World's Fair Space Needle pens cost $1 in 1962. Today the original pens can be purchased at Bartell Drugs for $10. (Image: Twitter)
One of the most purchased souvenirs from the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle is available for sale once again, in celebration of the 50th anniversary.
Alex Toth told 97.3 KIRO FM's Ross and Burbank Show that he's arranged for local retailer Bartell Drugs to sell the 18,000 remaining original Space Needle World's Fair pens that he manufactured for the fair in the 60s.
"My pitch to them was, 'you're a local company, we are a local company, these pens were made in Seattle, you're a Seattle company, you would be the ideal one to sell them,'" said Toth. "They said, 'Fine, we'll take them.'"
Living in Wallingford when he heard Seattle would be hosting a world's fair, Toth said he wanted to come up with a practical souvenir.
"I'm scratching my head with a pen and I go, 'Ah hah, how about a pen?'"
Toth didn't want it to just be a plain old pen with a world's fair label, so in thinking of a design, he asked himself 'what would be the most prominent feature at the fair.'
"I thought, the Space Needle. Why not a pen in the shape of the Space Needle?"
Toth said he manufactured the pens with two friends, and the three sold 487,000 in the six months the fair was in Seattle.
The remaining pens he produced "have been hibernating for the last 50 years in my basement," said Toth.
The pens are exactly the same as those sold in 1962, the only difference, Toth said, is new ink.
"Ink dries out in 50 years," Toth said.
He recruited family, friends and neighbors to replace the aging cartridges and the working pens are now available for sale for $10 at all 58 Bartell Drugs locations.
By JAMIE GRISWOLD, MyNorthwest.com Editor
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