The best of Boston swag

—By Katy Devlin, commercial glass & metals editor

The swanky swag bags of lavish jewels, cutting-edge gadgets and trip vouchers from the Hollywood awards shows can easily top $40,000 in value (celebs must pay taxes on these high-priced “gifts” since an IRS cracked down in 2006, according to E! Online).

While there were a few flat-screen TV and iPod giveaways, as well as a car raffle during the AIA Convention last week, the giveaways on the tradeshow floor were markedly less glamorous than this year’s Oscars. Even so, free is free, and many of the more than 20,000 attendees came home with packed bags of their Boston swag.

Of course, there was an ample selection of lanyards and pens and bags (oh my!), in addition to the expected edible goodies—mints, Jolly Ranchers, chocolates and popcorn. But, in my walk amid the about 800 exhibitor booths, some swag items really caught my eye.

Officials from Edgetech IG, Cambridge, Ohio, took a traditional giveaway and upgraded it with its “Predator Pen.” Thanks to Joe Erb, product manager at Edgetech, for helping us catch the pen in action.

Thermique Technologies, Chicago, provided one of the most popular giveaway items at the show—a plastic construction document tube. One of the other high-demand items was the perpetually filled bowl of Bayer Aspirin packages from Sheffield-Plastics, Sheffield, Mass.

Our booth neighbor, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Schaumburg, Ill., handed out tape measures, very popular among the architectural crowd. While Linetec, Wausau, Wis., handed out yo-yos, very popular among the Glass Magazine crowd.

Apple Cookie & Chocolate Co., Turtle Creek, Pa., provided one of the more unique swag treats—solid chocolate molded into hard hats, hammers and other construction-related shapes. Stuffed animals were a popular gift, including the Dalmatians from Schott, Elmsford, N.Y. And many companies also gave green. Edgetech, Weyerhaeuser Co., Federal Way, Wash., and several other companies gave trees to plant.

My personal favorite swag item was the fine pair of glasses from Arkema Inc., Philadelphia. Now, be honest, who looks better, Amanda Behnke, the NGA publication department’s special projects coordinator, or me?


Katy...By a nose.