Special Release – 30th Anniversary Tornado


It all started thirty years ago walking into store with a tray of pens and coming out with an order. Retro didn’t even have an office until July of 1990 when the lease was signed for 1500 square feet in Dallas, Texas. It’s hard to believe that thirty years has flown by but here we are. We thank you our fans because we could not be here without you!

To celebrate three decades of fine writing instruments we bring you this special release of the Pearl Anniversary Tornado. The barrels are made from cellulose acetate in a marbled white and pearl blend that has been finished with polished rhodium accents. Choose from the twist ballpoint, capped fountain or 1.15 mm pencil. A total of 1951 pieces have been produced with each one engraved with it’s LE number on the top ring.

Cellulose acetate is known for its strength, deep gloss, and high transparency. Pen enthusiasts also covet it for its warm and “natural” feel in the hand. This is because it’s derived from organic materials found in nature, most commonly cotton or wood pulp. It should also be noted that cellulose acetate, when properly cared for, is one of the most durable and long lasting materials ever utilized in the manufacturing of fine writing instruments.


After all, Life is too short to carry an Ugly Pen!®


T H A N K   Y O U   F R O M  T H E  R E T R O  T E A M


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Tornado Popper – Under the Radar


Try to intercept this new Tornado Popper because it will go fast. Only 951 rollerballs have been created with the stealthy appearance that is designed after the XXXXXXX reconnaissance aircraft originally built in XXXX and used by XXXXXXXX until XXXX.  The barrel has been acid-etched with details from the XXXXXXXX and lacquered in a matte black and printed details. Each one is packaged in a commemorative tube to keep safe when it’s not recording.

Watch for the release of this design at your favorite dealer or email customerservice[at]retro51[dot]com.


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Tornado Popper – Gone Fishing


We’re casting the line with the latest Tornado Popper. This fishing themed rollerball pen is sure to catch some eyes and smiles but whose hand will catch a lunker? You can’t lose with this vibrant fishing lure design that’ll bring fishing to your home or office. Although there are plenty of fish in the sea, there’s only 777 of these so make sure to get one because you don’t want this to be the one that got away.
Look for your favorite dealer to post a link to purchase or contact us for help finding one.


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LEAP – Tornado Popper


February 29th is an ephemeral ghost…A strange amazing day that comes only once every four years. For the rest of the time it does not ‘exist.’ In mundane terms, it marks a ‘leap’ in time, when the calendar is adjusted to make up for extra seconds accumulated over the preceding three years due to the rotation of the earth. A day of temporal tune up! But this day holds another secret — it contains one of those truly rare moments of delightful transience and light uncertainty that only exist on the razor edge of things, along a buzzing plane of quantum probability…A day of unlocked potential. Will you or won’t you? Should you or shouldn’t you? Use this day to do something daring, extraordinary and unlike yourself. Take a chance and shape a different pattern in your personal cloud of probability! — Vera Nazarian (Author)


We couldn’t say it any better so we’ll just say that unlike Leap year, this Tornado is a once in a lifetime production. This is a limited edition of 888 and they will sell fast so don’t hesitate. Check availability at your favorite Retro dealer or contact us for help finding a dealer.



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A letter from the Retro51 Team

Almost thirty years ago after walking into a store with a tray of pens and coming out with an order, Retro 1951 was born. We were officially in the pen business despite not knowing what we were getting into. Over the years Retro has said the pen is an accoutrement of life which we stand behind, but at that time it was the vehicle that would launch new careers filled with many adventures around the world and lifelong friendships.

With the new year and new decade it’s also time for something new for a handful of the Retro51 team …. retirement. Retro51 as you know it, will be making some changes and going on a sabbatical. What does this mean? We are still trying to figure it out, but there is a potential for new ownership or Retro could come back with a new business plan that we feel will thrive in the ever changing retail market. It is also possible that the Retro51 brand will be retired.

The plan for this year is to stay in business for the next six to nine months as we wind down. We will keep inventory of a select product group through March, plus we have plans for five to six new Popper designs yet to come. At the same time Retro will be working with dealers to produce their own exclusive designs, so 2020 will be filled with several unique and fun Retro designs.

We build our products to be daily writers but we understand that some issues may develop and your pens may need servicing. We are making arrangements for someone to be available to service your Retro51 products so they can continue to last for many years to come. The Retro51 website will also be maintained so you can reference it for this info, plus access the history of products shown there.

We could not be writing this letter without the many faithful fans and dedicated dealers. Countless times we heard how you bought or received a pen for a birthday, promotion or graduation. This small gift was the key to our success. Sharing your passion with someone else to mark a special occasion is why after thirty years we keep going and also led to taking chances on some crazy ideas (see Rudy Tissue Box holder and some of the Tornado Poppers). We are surrounded by such a great and passionate community and we owe our success to you.

Although retirement is around the corner, this is not a goodbye letter. Please consider this a mission accomplished letter. It’s a thank you letter. We are riding off into the sunset and singing “happy trails to you, until we meet again.”

– George and the Retro51 Team

P.S. Life is too short…


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2019 Retro51 Holiday Puzzle Contest


Contest is now complete, see the winners below. The first three people to complete the puzzle with all correct answers will win this year’s special Holiday Tornado you’ve never seen before.

Seven other people will also win in a random drawing one of these two prizes: Special Holiday Tornado (x 2 winners) and Christmas Melodies Tornado (x 5 winners).  One entry per person. (If you were already gifted the special Holiday giveaway you will only be eligible for the Christmas Melodies). 

Either click on the jpeg above (and save) or click here for a JPG version. Manually fill it out and snap a photo with your phone or just email the answers.

Contest ends at 11:59 pm Monday, December 16th 2019. USA Contestants only.

Winners will be notified by email. In the case of a tie, a tiebreaker question will be created.

First Prize: Special Holiday Tornado (never for sale) x 5 winners (first three + first two drawn by RNG)


Second Prize: Christmas Melodies Tornado Popper x 5 winners by RNG drawing



Vince M.

Brian L.

Matt S.

Monica G.

Denis S.

Robert C.

Deborah O.

Kim H.

Anca A.

Stephanie A.

(all winners have been emailed)


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Tornado Popper – Christmas Melodies

It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas…


Turn up the Christmas music, light the fire and get out the egg nog because it’s the best time of year! The final Tornado Popper of 2019 combines the love of Christmas music with vintage nostalgia … vinyl records. This analog writer has an acrylic barrel that’s been etched like your favorite LP and then printed with some of the most beloved Christmas songs. It’s been finished with chrome accents, engraved serial number on the top ring,  top disc with singing birdie and packaged in a commemorative tube. This rollerball will have you singing throughout the holidays …. On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a Retro51 Christmas Melody…”

Limited to 1225 rollerballs. Check your Retro dealer for availability or contact us for help finding a dealer.


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Q&A with Don Clark from Invisible Creature

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Invisible Creature has been a well known illustration and design company for over a decade now. If you are in the design industry you have known of them for sometime. If you are not, you have probably still experienced their work in your local Target without even knowing it. From in-store graphics to the gift cards they’ve created and possibly you’ve even purchased.


They have done so much work in the music industry that you probably have a CD with their designs as well. Bands/artists such as Foo Fighters, Kendrick Lamar, Alice in Chains and Lecrae to name a few.


Or perhaps you have used these stamps from the USPS…


They also designed some posters for NASA including “The Grand Tour” poster that is framed in our offices. This poster lead to a call with Don Clark to discuss the possibility of a collaboration. One year after our first phone call we were excited to release the Creepy Scrawlers, the first collaboration project for Retro.



R51: Would you consider yourself a “pen” person? Have you ever received on as a gift?

DC: You know, before this project I’d have to honestly say no. I wasn’t familiar at all with “pen culture” since I essentially only use a stylus and pencil for drawing. I have some cool brush pens that I use on occasion but my work is created almost entirely digitally at this point. (Cue sad trombone sound here). And I think like most people, we find ourselves writing less and typing much more these days. We have a few ball point pens around the house but don’t give them much thought. This project with you guys was enlightening in many ways and made me think of pens in a whole new light!

R51: Did you know about Retro51 or the world of pens before this project started?

DC: I did know there were nice writing pens out there, but had not hear of Retro 51, sadly.

R51: Do you use a pen in day to day life? Doodling ,note keeping etc.

DC: I would say yes, I definitely do use a pen every day, but mostly it is to jot down a phone message at the studio or for a quick sticky note. I wish I had more time to doodle these days. I’d say 100% of my drawing time is for a client or specific project we are working on. If I am experimenting or sketching, that would usually be done on my Wacom Cintiq with a stylus.

R51: Did you find designing on the pen was difficult? or did it come together really well?

DC: Actually, it did present a few challenges that I enjoyed figuring out. Namely when it came to creating something that was going to be printed so small – and on a curve. Since we had so many characters featured on the pen (and the holder), I needed to make sure that certain elements didn’t become too tiny or obscure. I had fun playing around with stroke widths and sizes to determine how small I could go with things.


(Original Sketch)

R51: Do you have a favorite monster? or favorite 5?

DC: That’s like asking if I have a favorite child! Ok, Ok, it is hard but I think maybe this guy? He just looks soooooooo guilty.


R51: Did you ever surprise yourself with one of the Scrawlers you created? Like you look back and think “that’s crazy.”

DC: Well I do think it’s a little crazy that I haven’t counted the amount of monsters yet … I should do that. 

(R51: there are 17 monsters on the pen and 69 on the packaging)

R51: Did you name any of them? For some reason I felt like this guy’s name would be “Igor.”


DC: I haven’t yet but I think the guy above should be named “Benny.” He looks like a “Benny.”

R51: Do you think you’ll add onto these “Creepy Scrawlers” in any ways? Another poster or t-shirt perhaps?

DC: I’d love to do another series of all new creatures in a completely different color way sometime!

R51: If you were to design another pen theme what would you want to do?

DC: Yes. Birds! 

R51: Would you consider yourself a “pen” person now?

DC: Can I be a Retro 51 “person”? If the answer is yes, then I am definitely a pen person now.

R51: Big thanks to Don for working with us and taking the time to give some insight on this project! We hope you like your Creepy Scrawler as much as we do. To see more of their work check out their website. For help finding a dealer with these still in stock please contact us.


What is your favorite Scrawler?


Do you want to see more collaborations?



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Creepy Scrawlers by Invisible Creature

Just in time for Halloween…


The Creepy Scrawlers come out day or night and are ready to write around with you. Put them in your purse or pocket and take them with you to work or school and see what happens!* You cannot deny their mischievous smiles, googly eyes and sharp teeth, plus they glow in dark! Several fun monsters are printed around this Tornado Popper’s barrel and complete with matte black trim. Each rollerball pen is engraved with the limited edition number and limited to only 1313 pieces. They are packaged in a  FULL graphic tube with even more monsters covering it. Pick one up and be prepared for the adventures you’ll have.

*Retro51 and Invisible Creature are not liable for any mischievous behavior that may occur with them in hand.

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Retro51 is proud to work with Invisible Creature on this first Tornado Popper collaboration. We have long looked up to this design and illustration firm and we jumped at the chance to work with them. If you don’t recognize their name, you’re sure to recognize their work with Target, NASA, LEGO and Nike to name a few. Read more about the design and illustration duo here. Below is a small sample of their work.


If you need help finding this design please contact our customer service. Hurry though, only 1313 were made.


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New Tornado Popper – Old School


It’s back to school time so get stocked up on supplies and what’s more important than a fine writing pen! This new Tornado Popper is dedicated to growing and continuing to educate yourself whether you’re in school or not. When you pick up this twist-top rollerball you control your fate. You are the bus driver for your future. This fun design has been printed with graphics from a school bus and finished with matte black trim. Each pen’s top ring has been engraved with the serial number and topped with a stop sign finial. Old School is a limited edition of 1234 pieces so don’t miss this bus because it won’t be back tomorrow! And don’t forget your cootie shot.


If you need help finding a dealer please contact our customer service.

Life is too short to carry an Ugly Pen!®

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