Panamanian crafts charm markets
PANAMA. Condolezza Rice, a few European kings and the president of the Interamerican Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno have somethi...
PANAMA. Condolezza Rice, a few European kings and the president of the Interamerican Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno have something Panamanian in common. They are among world personalitis using ballpoints crafted in tagua and other exotic hardwoods made by the local company, M&R Wilson.
Hubert Roy Wilson, an electronics engineer, started in business making guitars and wicker furniture.
This creative job led him to consider the idea of producing artisan ballpoints and other office gear made with exotic hardwood.
M&R Wilson is a growing company and even though they do not export great volumes, they have sent their products to the US, Spain, Switzerland, Australia and England.
What sets their ballpoints apart is the novelty in design said Wilson at his home which is also the company’s workshop.
So relevant they have become, they were used to sign the documents that set the Panama Canal expansion project in motion.
The prices range from $35 to $600 depending on the crafting. The materials used are tagua, a palm nut known also as vegetable ivory and other exotic tropical hardwoods.
There are no elephants in Panama, but a positive aspect of the tagua nut is that just one tree produces enough ivory to equal that of a female elephant tusk, so by choosing this vegetable option, innocent animals are spared worldwide and and tropical forests from being degraded into barren land. The tagua palm grows from southern Panama along the Andes to Bolivia and Peru.
M&R Wilson uses goldplating, titanium and rhodium to give the pieces a classy finishing. Around 150 ballpoint pens are produced monthly with the aid of four employees and family collaboration.
Besides the ballpoints, the firm also makes and exports antique style magnifying glasses. Wilson said its is important to make alliances and agreements to reduce the price of exporting small volumes.
He proudly added that his company has placed at least one ballpoint in each country on the American continent.