Fisher Space Pen

Written by Monkeybrad on October 21st, 2008

5 of 5 bananas

Various office supply stores $12.00-$25.00

You may have seen several cachers carrying a small black or chrome pen in their pants pockets and wondered just what the deal is.  Are these special secret club pens?  Well, yes and no.  There is no secret club for folks who carry the Fisher Space pen, but it sure is special, and it has several features that make it the perfect geocaching pen.

I have carried one of these things for years, way before geocaching, so when we started caching I did not event think about people having trouble writing on wet logs and the such.  But let me give you a little background on the pen before I jump into the geocaching aspects.  The Fisher Space pen was developed by the Fisher Pen Co. in the mid-60’s.  Contrary to urban legend, the pen was not developed by NASA, and did not cost millions of taxpayer dollars to produce.  Before the space pen NASA astronauts used mechanical pencils, which NASA paid over $100 dollars a piece for, but I digress.  The Fisher Co. spent over one million dollars of its own money to develop a pen that would work in space which they hoped they could then sell to NASA.  Of course the pen would have to work in extreme temperatures and write even when upside down since there is no real up in microgravity.  To accomplish this Fisher developed a special ink with a pressurized cartridge.  Rather than trying to explain it myself, here is the info from their website.

“Unlike ordinary ball pens which rely on gravity to feed ink, the Space Pen’s replaceable cartridge is pressurized. At nearly 50 pounds per square inch, ink is continuously fed to the tungsten carbide ball, allowing the user to write at any angle, even upside down. This advancement required the development of a special ink.  The new visco-elastic ink, with a consistency similar to that of very thick rubber cement, flows as a result of the shearing action of the rolling ball in its socket.. This shearing action liquifies the solid gel thixotropic ink, allowing the pen to write smoothly and dependably on most surfaces and even under water.”

OK here is the very cool part.  That new ink will write on almost anything, which makes it perfect for caching.  The ink will write on wet logs, without running or fading, it will write on greasy paper, plastic, wax paper, even glass.  I have yet to find a surface that you can’t sign using the space pen.  On top of that I love the small size and the way that the Bullet model fits in your pants pocket.   I have a bad habit of breaking regular pens, but I have yet to break a space pen, although I have dented a few.  It comes in a couple of different models so if you like a larger pen they have that too.  I use the bullet in both black and chrome and I usually pick them up at Staples for less than $20.00,  I have even found them as cheap as $12.00 there.  REI sells the same pen for $25.00, but they have a sexier selection of colors.  The pens are refillable and you can buy the ink cartridges for less than five bucks at any office place.  If you like you can also buy the refill cartridges and get the ink advantage while using your favorite refillable pen.

In this Monkey’s opinion, the Fisher Space Pen is the world’s most perfect geocaching pen.  I have carried one myself for years, and I now try to keep a couple of spares around in case I lose mine.  I have given them as gifts to cachers and they have always seemed to be popular.  On top of all that the Bullet model (the one I carry) is also on display at the New York Museum of Modern Art as an outstanding example of industrial art.

Functional beauty that writes on wet logs and glass, what is not to love?

 

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