Toothpick sources in the UK

Chris Boyd chrisb at
Mon Mar 27 04:03:23 EST 1995

Duncan Clark (Duncan at wrote:
: Hi Folks,

: For those of you in the UK where do you get your toothpicks from? The 
: kind I want are as follows and used to come my way from a college. 
: They can no longer get them and I'm getting very low!

: Toothpicks are flat, approx 1mm thick, 55mm long, one end round 
: approx 2.5mm wide narrowing to roughly 0.5mm. I do not want 
: round pointed cocktail sticks. I will buy as many as I have to ie
: 10x6 if necessary etc.

Dear Duncan,

I have a box of these or similar in front of me: "KAYBEE 650 FLAT STYLE
toothpicks". The address is Keenan Industries Limited, Owen Sound,
Canada N4K 5P3. After they mysteriously became unavailable through the
usual channels some years ago, my colleague John Maule wrote to the
company to enquire about a UK supplier and was told, "Boots the
Chemist"!  But this proved to be a fallacy and he eventually tracked
them down to the local Chinese supermarket in Leith, where he now
regularly buys them on the petty cash (no, really).  So I guess the
answer is to trawl round the local ethnic grocer shops. You never know,
they might also be able to flog you some cheapo T*q "under the

By the way, such toothpicks are VASTLY superior to the cocktail sticks
most people seem to use: using the flattened end you can make very nice
patches of clones for screening/probing etc. without ploughing up the
agar surface.  The pointed end can be used for picking colonies from
dense plates.  The only drawback is having to sort them out before

: Many many thanks 

: Duncan

Good luck!

Chris Boyd           |       MRC Human Genetics Unit / Western General Hospital
chrisb at |                Crewe Road / Edinburgh EH4 2XU / Scotland

More information about the Methods mailing list