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Fisher Ball Point Pens

Paul Fisher invented the Universal refill for ballpoint pens in 1953. It sold well, but Fisher continued to work on improving it. He eventually came up with an ink cartridge that was pressurized with nitrogen so that it didn't rely on gravity to help the ink flow. It used the shearing action of the rolling ball to liquefy the semi-solid ink, ensuring that it would flow only when needed. It was found that the pen worked in zero gravity, so the Fisher Space Pen was born.

The Fisher AG7 Anti-Gravity pen, the first space pen, was developed in 1965 and first used in space on NASA's Apollo 7 mission in 1968. Paul Fisher went on to expand the Fisher Space Pen company, which now sells ballpoint pens with both pressurized and non-pressurized ink in many different styles. Fisher ballpoint pens that use pressurized ink are called space pens even if they haven't been in space.

The many different styles of Fisher ballpoint pens appeal to collectors. A favorite is the NASA underwater model, which has a silver base and blue ink. Fisher's pen and pencil set from 1969, including the original instruction booklet and box, also appeals to collectors.

Quick Facts

  • According to urban legend, NASA spent millions on space pen development while Russians simply used pencils. Truly, Paul Fisher spent his own money to develop the Fisher Space Pen, first selling 400 pens to NASA for less than $10 each
  • In 1985, Fisher Space Pen produced the Stowaway pen line, which was manufactured using salvaged gold from the 1622 Spanish Galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha
  • The Fisher Space Pen was used in 1997 during a Mount Everest expedition and on the Russian space station Muir in 1998. NASA continues to use Fisher Space Pens on its missions

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