Ok. Its been a while but this one is worth blogging about.
Some people complain about the lack of updates on this blog, but one must remember that everything I type is completed on the small thumbpad of my smartphone. So it takes me up to an hour to write and post an entry sometimes ... Something you will read in a matter of moments.
But this particular time I am moved to report on a product I have discovered, by accident, that has to be one of the most amazingly wonderful little instruments that I have ever encountered.
Many of you will have heard of the Space Pen(tm). For those of you immune to popular trivia, and the Seinfeld show, I will explain.
In 1966, the year of my birth, an engineer named Paul Fisher perfected the design of his ballpoint pen. A lowly instrument, widely and cheaply available since the 50s, the ballpoint has always represented an inexpensive, mostly reliable and ubuquitous writing tool, allowing the masses to inscribe their deepest thoughts in ink. But as early as 1948, Mr. Fisher had been keenly aware of the device's limitations.
Cheap mass market production of pens, and the low profits these items brought their manufacturers, had reduced the utility of them considerably. Prone to clogging, weak ink flow, and a design that required the writer to avoid writing on anything but a smooth flat surface held parallel to the ground, these pens were useless for people on the go, who sometimes had to write on paper that presented a vertical surface, or in the cold or very hot temperatures that our various global climates delivered.
Fisher's new design was borne out of sheer frustration with the lack of innovation. He saw manufacturers innovate purely in the mechanical and aesthetic design of the pen, without ever overcoming the basic flaws in the design of the pen's core function: ink delivery to the paper.
Mont Blanc would sell you an exquiste writing instrument for many hundreds of dollars. Parker (ahem) a nice glittery bit of silvery kit for $60, and Bic and Biro: a utilitarian yellow crack-smoker's dream for a few cents.
Each of them had their place in the world, but each, no matter the cost, was essentially crap.
Then along came Fisher.
Armed with a singular vision, Paul Fisher set out to build a seamlessly fluid and visually stunning work of art, one that would serve its owner reliably for the entire life of every ink cartridge, in the frigid cold, the searing heat, high humidity, dessicating desert dryness or the total vacuum of your workspace. Yes, not only did the pen work everywhere on earth, but it even accompanied Apollo astronauts to space. Hence its nerdy name. And not only did the pen work flawlessly in zero gravity (just try writing upside down with your Office Depot 10-pack of Med fine blue trusties and you'll discover their gravity-bound limitations) but one famously saved an entire mission from certain disaster..but that's another story.
So while waiting for a group of ladies to shop themselves into exhaustion, I had wandered into one of those local pen and knife shops to peruse the various weaponry.
Gazing blankly at the display of writing instruments, my eyes flickered across the Space Pen display. I've always wondered about them, but due to their diminutive size, slippery metal housing (I'm not the most coordinated of people, you know), hefty price tag (just shy of $80) and faddish gimickry, I've never really considered buying or trying one. But then something caught my eye at the edge of the display .
What was this?
A full sized Space Pen, with a grippy-looking black rubber housing, solid construction and nice comforting rotundity.
I beckoned the clerk and asked him for a look see. He brought over a writing pad and took a display model out for me to try.
With one stroke I knew I had to have it.
Smooth? ... like nothing you've ever swept across a page.
Upside down, on a wall. Thick and seductive ink flow no matter where you point it.
Fisher's design is simply breathtaking. You see, what he did was pressurize the ink cartridge with about 40psi and sealed it up tight. Then he used some tungsten titanium alloy thingamabobby for his ball point, a custom channel design for getting ink to the ball with nary a clog, and the ink itself is drawn from the rich arterial blood of a thrush-voiced jazz songstress. Nina Simone... Yeah, like her. Or maybe Ella. Yeah. One of them. Mixed in with some pixie dust and the phlegm of an endangered tribe of Amazon warrior princesses. Whatever. Its the business.
And what Fisher did, he did it right. Wow.
In the words of the immortal Bricktop: "Like buttah."
With some trepidation, I turned the box over and squinted at the price tag. Since this version of Fisher's design was built specifically for law enforcement, I knew he'd be cashing in on the weapon-geek factor in the same way that MagLite(tm) has done for years with their giant black dildo flashlights.
And the price?
Writes in space. Saved astronauts. Looks like money. Glides like a hawk. Under three tenners, all in. Check!
And you don't have one because...?