Sharpie pens are synonymous with permanent markers. Yet the manufacturer of Sharpie pens makes a variety of ink products, each designed for different purposes.
The history of the Sharpie reaches back to 1857, when the ink and glue manufacturing company Sanford Manufacturing Company was founded. The company name changed slightly over the years, as did its products. In 1964, Sanford introduced its Sharpie marker, marketing it as the first pen-style permanent ink marker.
When the first black Sharpie Fine Point marker was introduced, consumers learned quickly that the ink adhered to a variety of surfaces ranging from plastic to metal, glass and stone. Celebrity endorsements came from Jack Parr and Johnny Carson.
The Sharpie permanent marker with black ink comes in fine, twin tip, chisel and super styles. The solvents used in the permanent ink Sharpies include alcohol and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether. The other colors of Sharpie markers contain Permchrome ink, and their solvents also include alcohol but not glycol ether.
Variations on the Original Sharpie
The Sharpie Extra Fine Tip was introduced in 1979 in four colors, followed by the Sharpie Ultra Fine Point marker in 1989. The popularity of the Sharpie took off in the 1990s, as the memorabilia craze heightened and autographs were sought for everything from t-shirts to footballs. The Sharpie met the demand for a convenient, pen-style permanent marker that would add to the longevity of autographs.
While the original Sharpie broke ground with basic black, the marker is available in as many as 39 colors, depending on the type of pen or marker. The Chisel Tip Sharpie is available in eight colors, the Twin Tip in 20 and the Fine Point in 39 (plus metallic silver).
Amy Cates is an award-winning writer and journalist whose byline has appeared in national, regional and local magazines and newspapers. She holds a B.A. in English, with master's coursework in journalism. Cates is currently completing her master's degree in English. Her clients have included national consumer and trade publications, as well as corporate and nonprofit organizations.