Friday, January 18, 2008

Bedside Writing

I might not have a Moleskine by the bed, but I do have a Fisher space pen (my 2006 birthday present), and can recommend one such to all insomniac writers. The space pen, so called because it works in zero gravity, will write underwater, over grease, in any temperature between -20°C and +200°C, and, most usefully for the rest of us, it works upside down.

It was developed by Paul Fisher in the early 1960s in response to NASA's need for a pen that would work in space. The urban myth - stating that the Americans spent $1m designing a pen, whereas the Russians used pencils - is (sadly) not true. The Americans had found that broken pencil-leads tended to float into people's eyes, ears, noses and also into electrical circuits. They were also highly flammable in the pure-oxygen environment of a space capsule.

The space pen's ballpoint is made from tungsten carbide. The ink is hermetically sealed in a pressurised reservoir, and is forced out by compressed nitrogen at a pressure of nearly 35psi. I find that all this technology makes it invaluable for writing on the back of my hand at 3am.

See Fisher's website for more information, where, incidentally, they advertise the Moleskine as the perfect space-pen companion.

7 comments:

CTaylor said...

OOOOh I really REALLY want one! I hate it when a pen won't work because you're holding the piece of paper up at an angle instead of on the horizontal. And it's all shiny and ergonomic-looking too!

p.s. I still have no idea what a moleskine is?!

KAREN CLARKE said...

Talk about Edukashonal! Good post. And I'm definitely going to get one of these babies. To go with my Moleskine, natch ;)

Maddie Moon said...

I've seen these in those lovely Christmas catalogues brimming with stuff you wonder how you've managed without for so long. Every writer should have one of these, I think.

Leigh said...

Cally - that's exactly why I wanted one, so that I could do the crossword in bed! Moleskine is a brand of notebook, traditionally used by writers and artists. It's a must-have for the aspirant because, you see, the name alone ensures that your scribblings will sell...

Thanks, Karen. I see you can now get them in different styles and colours, which makes them even more fun. You won't regret buying one, believe me!

Maddie - I agree!

Lane said...

They are so cool! I'm lusting after a green one. And a great, big fat Moleskine of course:-) And then maybe a space trip!

HelenMH said...

Yes, but is there a built-in light? That's what I need. And I must get me a moleskine. Lack of one is obviously holding me back as a writer!

Leigh said...

Lane - Haven't you already got a Moleskine in your notebook collection? I am surprised!

Helen - Now there's an idea! A pen with a little light. There's a market there!