Fisher Space Pen
The pen with the "write anywhere" capability
Designed for the hostile environment of zero-gravity space, the Fisher space pen was tested by NASA for two years before being allowed to leave the earth's atmosphere.
That was back in the Sixties, since then the Fisher space pen has been a permanent fixture on board NASA Apollo, Skylab and Shuttle missions as well as the Russian Soyuz space program, the MIR space station and the European ARIANE space flights.
Much to the relief of Fisher, the market for the space pen has not been limited to astronauts. They've gained an impressive number of sales here on earth.
As witnessed over the past forty years, developments for space exploration have an uncanny knack of filtering down to society at large. Teflon is one example, and the Fisher space pen another. Back in the 1960s, the test that confronted Fisher was to deliver a pen that would write in the gravity-free vacuum of space and at any angle.
The solution to NASA's challenge was, for the most part, already in the bag. Fisher had developed the Universal Refill which used semi-solid ink that flowed only when the shearing action of the rolling ball liquefied it. By adding pressurized nitrogen gas into the cartridge, Fisher found that gravity was no longer required to write.
Fisher's developments hit NASA's sweet spot and the Fisher space pen was born. At a stroke, ballpoint pens, which refused to work in zero gravity, and pencils were replaced on board the Apollo 7 space flight in 1968. And the rest, they say, is history.
Fisher, defying rivals' hopes of a hard landing back, have continued innovating their product range. Core to their success is the Fisher space pen's closed ink cartridge that never dries out or leaks and the ability to write at any angle and underwater. Neither greasy or damp paper nor extreme heat and cold represent an obstacle, and it's estimated that the shelf-life of a Fisher space pen is around 100 years. In stark contrast, the average ballpoint manages a maximum shelf-life of two years.
Together with their rugged good looks, it's little wonder that Fisher pens are found anywhere there's a unfriendly setting - be it the battlefield, the building site or the board room. Among the space pen's customers listed by Fisher are the US Air Force, US Navy Seals, the US Army, the Canadian Air Force, the FBI, emergency services, law enforcement agencies and hospital staff.
But it's not just service personnel or people who work outdoors in extreme weather conditions that get a kick out of the Fisher space pen. The reliability and 'write anywhere' capabilities of the Fisher space pen are being widely appreciated in the home and office too.