Fisher Space Pen: A Heavenly Writing Tool on Earth

When your imagination for appropriate graduation gifts freezes at fancy pen sets, the least you can do is make sure they are interesting pen sets. While the Montblanc Meisterstuck says “Prestige” and the Cross Gold says “Loyal,” the Fisher Space Pen shouts “Cool.”

The Fisher Space Pen is a bullet shaped instrument that boasts of being able to write upside down. If the lucky graduate on your gift list happens to find himself or herself free of the earth’s gravitational pull in zero-G weightlessness, he or she will be relieved to know this pen will continue to operate. The technology involved is a pressurized ink cartridge innovative enough to qualify for a U.S. patent. The ink (called thixotropic ink, whatever that may be) is hermetically sealed in a gas pressurized reservoir that is not dependent upon angle or gravity.

The Fisher pen, or the “Tang” of writing implements, is available in silver or matte black. It is completely sleek, without any unsightly hardware like pocket clips or cartridge plungers. The packaging for the Fisher pen evokes the NASA Apollo project, with a graphic of a moonscape, the flag planted in moon dust, a saluting astronaut, a lunar module, a moon buggy, the earth rising in the background – the whole nine yards.

It is interesting to realize that the Fisher instrument earned its reputation by association with the space program, but not as a pen. Paul C. Fisher, the inventor of the pen, states that at a 1984 commemorative dinner for NASA, moonwalker Buzz Aldrin told him he had used the instrument as a makeshift tool to flip on a vital broken switch onboard the Apollo 11 lunar lander. It just so happened it was the switch which activated the rockets to propel the lunar module from moon’s surface. If the broken switch could not otherwise be engaged, Aldrin and Neil Armstrong would have been unable to rejoin the command module and return safely to earth. So you see, you are not just giving your graduate a pen, you are giving a lesson in problem solving.

One drawback is that you need two free hands to use this instrument as a pen. The cap sheath has to be pulled off the cartridge and replaced on the tail end, creating a full 5 Ã?¼ inch pen. Otherwise, the 3 Ã?½ inch writing unit is too stubby for comfortable use. This reconfiguration is downright tricky with only one hand. But it’s worth it. Where else can you get a pen that will write in orbit, at minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit, at plus 400 degrees Fahrenheit, over grease or under water? Of course, if you find yourself under water and needing to take notes, you are in more trouble than you think.

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