I had a Fisher Space Pen YEARS ago. It was a silver-colored retractable and though I thought the concept was cool, writing with it was not. The ink was so blobby that my letters and notes (and fingers) looked like I’d dabbled in a bit of tar while writing. Not a good memory. And as one does when one has a bad experience, I shunned the product. Ick, I’d think, when I saw them on the rack at Staples, then I’d have a bunch of smeared finger flashbacks. *shudder*
But then the Fisher Space Pen (FSP…much quicker to type) started cropping up in a bunch of respected and discerning pen review blogs (Hi, penaddict.com!). Since decades have passed since I wallowed in the tar, I plunked down a little birthday money and picked up the FSB (black matte bullet model).
What a difference a handful of decades makes. This FSP is a blast to use…very minimalist and compact. Because it’s clipless, it can roll off of a desk or counter, but I really like the stripped down look. I think a clip would get in the way, visually.
The pen came with a medium black refill which wrote fine (I mean, okay), but was a little broader than I like. After a few weeks, I swapped out that refill for a fine point and am happier with the writing experience (though fine feels like medium, which is probably why medium felt like broad.) I plan to stick with the fine refills from here on out.
The pen feels sturdy and well-made, and even though I’ve been carrying it around in my pocket with change and keys and a pocket knife, the finish is still pristine.
The back of the FSP package gives a brief history of the pen, as well as a view of its “guts.” This is where you can read about the gas plug and sliding float, the thixotropic ink, and the ultra-hard tungsten carbide ball, if you’re into such things.
From the package: When astronauts began to explore the reaches of outer space, Paul Fisher realized that there was no existing pen which could perform in its freezing cold, boiling hot vacuum. [Sounds like my house throughout the seasons.]
Countless experiments and a common sense approach to findings resulted in the invention of the sealed and pressurized Fisher Space Pen cartridge and in 1967, after 18 months of rigorous testing by NASA, the Space Pen was selected for use by the astronauts.
The packaging goes on to say that if you’re not satisfied (Lifetime Guarantee!), return the pen directly to Paul C. Fisher for repair or replacement. See?
Turns out Paul C. Fisher passed away in 2006, so mailing it “directly” to him is a little tricky (what’s the zip?!), but you get the drift.
Now for the best part…the writing experience. Gone are the thick blobs that so plagued my memory of this pen. The line is smoother and darker than I remember, and definitely cleaner.
I’m now a fan.
Not only is the writing experience on plain old paper very good, but the pen ALSO promises to write in all kinds of extreme conditions…from -30 to +250 degrees, through greasy, wet, or zero-gravity conditions, even upside-down. Writing letters on a trapeze, in the rain, while eating french fries, on a hot summer day? No problem.
Reliable, is what it is.
So while I may never be THAT hot or THAT cold or lacking gravity, I may find myself in a chilly car or writing at a weird angle and for those times, I have the go-to pen.
Having a plain old luke-warm, full-gravity day? Well, it’s fine for that, too.
Paul C. Fisher, I salute you, wherever you are.