re: Marking pens

re: Marking pens

Dear Jim,
     It is a remote possibility that someone used a regular permanent marker 
such as a "Sharpie" by accident.  That has happened before when we had a temp 
in to do some work.  However, this would be more likely if the pen had been 
removed during processing in the alcohols and clearing agents instead of in 
the paraffin.
     What do you do to keep the pencil numbers from smudging into obscurity?  
That has been a problem that has made it very difficult to read the cassette 
and slide numbers at times.  The Secureline Marker II Superfrost pens we used 
never had any problems, even in xylene/ethanol or xylene/acetone solutions, 
but I can not afford to use them and need to make the best use of pencils.
     Thank you in advance for your ideas!
Kim Atkin HT (ASCP)

Histology Laboratory Supervisor
Angell Memorial Animal Hospital
350 South Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02130

re: Marking pens
From: Jim Staruk <> 



Dear Connie and others,

I also ran into a disastrous situation last week because of marking pens.  A
client delivered many cassettes, all marked with marking pens (I don't know
which make and he's on vacation this week, so I can't ask him).  We
processed half of them and when we went to embed them, about half of the
cassettes were totally blank.  The numbers were completely washed off!  The
others were from light to pristine.  I took the remaining un-processed
cassettes and re-labeled each one on the side with my trusty #2 lead pencil.
I monitored this batch and noted that all numbers were pristine going into
the first paraffin bath.  When it was time to embed them (two changes of 58
degree paraffin, 2 hours each), about half of the cassettes were blank!  The
pencil numbering on the sides saved us.  When we grouped the cassettes into
their appropriate cases, I noticed each case was either pristine or
completely washed off.  My conclusion was that different pens were used for
different cases and there is a bad lot of pens out there (if, in fact he
used the same brand for all of his cases).

I have used #2 pencils for 25 years and have never lost a number.  I keep an
electric pencil sharpener close by to keep the points nice and sharp.  My
philosophy is:  If it isn't broken, don't fix it!

If you want, I'll inform this group next week which pens were used in the
above case.


James E. Staruk, HT(ASCP)
Mass Histology Service

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Connie Grubaugh []
> Sent: Sunday, November 12, 2000 6:26 PM
> To: HistoNet Server
> Subject: Re: Daily Digest
> Reguarding  Securline Marker ll Superfrost marking pens.
> In  the past couple of weeks we have been having a lot of trouble with
> these pens, the numbers have been coming off during processing and when
> we scrape the paraffin off the blocks the number goes with it.  We write
> the number on the top and on the sides.
> If anyone has any insight into this problem I would appreciate your
> comments.

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