Considering A Fisher Space Pen?

by Brad Isaac on June 10, 2007

I finally broke down and bought one of the Fisher Matte Black Bullet Space Pen With Clip . Originally, I was reluctant to get one of these because from the pictures on the web it looked to be too tiny for a writing instrument. I thought it was about 2/3 the size of a normal pen. I have big hands it might not translate into a comfortable pen.

space_pen 001-25

Instead, what I found was that once you remove the cap the capped it on the back, it expands to the size of a regular pen. I was happily surprised that I was not going to have to cramp my hand to use it.

space_pen 002-25

I bought the standard black finished space pen with the clip. I had this idea that I’d slip the clip into the spine of my Moleskine notebook so I could just pop it in my back pocket before I left the house. I’d have my notebook and pen with me always.

space_pen 003-25

Sounds good huh? Sadly, the clip slides on and off easily. So easily in fact, it comes off when I don’t want it to. And although the clip and pen idea worked at first, after walking and sitting a couple times, the clip came off every time. This left the clip dangling from the spine of my Moleskine and my space pen loose in my pocket. Aside from epoxying the clip onto the pen, I don’t know of a way to get the clip to stay
put on the pen.

space_pen 004

The Best Intentions of Mice and Men

For now though, I have put away the clip for a possible resurrection at such a time when I have a way to make it stay on the pen. I am simply dropping the pen in my pocket as is.

The writing quality is nice. The compressed cartridge writes smoothly and claims it will write upside down. I didn’t bother trying that, but it does work while writing in bed. Normally, this doesn’t work for me. I like to make lists in the morning, and when writing on a pad that’s angled upright, a standard pen won’t work. After a task or two I have to get out of bed to finish the list! oh the agony! But not with the space pen, it does write nonstop.

The pen comes standard with a black ink cartridge. That wouldn’t do for me, as a blue ink fan I had to get a blue cartridge. I hesitated over whether to get a medium or fine point cartridge. You see, my most used pen is a Mont Blanc ballpoint. It writes well with a medium point, but the fine ink cartridges are terrible. They skip, feel scratchy, and are overall annoying. I prefer a fine point, but don’t like the headaches associated with them.

Against my better judgment, I went ahead and got a fine point blue cartridge for my new space pen. I thought if it sucked, it would make for a good blog review. After writing for over a week with this baby, I’ll say WOW. The blue fine cartridge writes more comfortably and looks better than my Mont Blanc medium blue cartridge. It might even write better than the standard medium black cartridge that came with the
Space Pen. How great is that?

So the space pen lost some points for the clip, but rapidly gained them back with the fine tipped blue ink cartridge.

Speaking of blue, I just noticed, Fisher has a Blueberry blue space pen that I am suddenly ga ga over. My-o-my what a beauty! It’s on my Amazon wish list if you want to be nice to me. ;)

Blueberry Blue Bullet Pen By Fisher Space Pen

Another point for enthusiasts is putting the cap on the back of the pen while writing. Pen enthusiasts call this “posting” the cap. It is something I’ve trained myself to be wary of because with fine fountain pens, posting the cap often ruins the finish. With the space pen, if you don’t post it firmly enough, it wobbles and clicks while you write.

I have decided since the pen was only $22, that I’d go ahead and post it firmly. Posting it does affect the finish a bit, but the pen does seem rather rugged. It’s made of brass and stainless steel . Speaking of ruggedness, there is something about the pen that makes it feel like it can withstand much abuse. I’ve dropped it a few times and it never cracked or leaked ink. It’s so compact and solid, it’s almost like dropping a small steel rod on the floor. You are not concerned about it breaking – but you might wonder about it bending. I never bent mine, it’s just an observation.

One of the features that I love is as you unscrew the pen to insert a new cartridge you see just how perfectly the cartridge fits into the pen itself. Also with the threads that are used to screw the pen back together are tight and uniform. You normally only see these among the higher quality pens such as Pelikan and Mont Blanc – it is refreshing to find them in a 20 dollar pen.

Also you’ll notice when you unscrew the pen there is what looks to a rubber coated metal washer. This solidly holds the cap on the pen. Once you have the cap on the pen in your pocket it’s on there to stay. I have tested this by jogging with the pen in my pocket and found the cap will not come off. Also the fact that the cap covers 2/3 pen itself also ensures that your pen will not fall apart in your pocket or spill ink into your clothing.


Overall, even though my idea with the clip has not worked and the cap jiggling a little as it’s posted on the pen for writing, I think this is a nice pen. It’s portable and solid as a rock. You can drop it and not worry about it breaking or spilling ink on the floor. Plus adding a blue fine tipped ink cartridge is a great selling point for blue ink addicts like me is the blue fine tipped cartridge that writes like a dream. The Fisher space pen is not quite as comfortable to hold as a Mont Blanc, Pelikan or some of your other finer pens, However it makes up for it and the ability to take it anywhere. I cannot carry a fountain pen with me because I’m too rough on them. Fountain pens have to stay on my desk, however the Fisher Space Pen can go with me anywhere – even jogging.

Technorati Tags: Fisher Space Pen, Lifehacks, Moleskine, Hacks

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Chris Magnusson June 10, 2007 at 5:29 pm

I’ve been using one of these for years. The only thing I did differently was to get the version with the stylus on the cap; however, this led to an issue where if the pen is dropped at just the right angle, the stylus tip could fracture and break off. I’m currently on my third pen for that reason.

June 11, 2007 at 10:23 am

Nice post and pen Brad. In the last year I’ve used my Lamy 2000 fountain pen and Lamy Dialog2 roller ball for almost everything.


Brad Isaac June 11, 2007 at 10:37 am

Chris Magnusson, I really debated on the stylus tip as I am a PPC enthusiast, but found that other similar setups with a pencap stylus I’d accidentally stab myself. Not that it was a critical injury or anything, but if you are in a hurry – reaching for change or something, a sharp stylus tip does stab you and can break the skin.

I’m glad you told me the stylus tip breaks off on these easily because I did have second thoughts.

Just one of those hassles I don’t need.

Brad Isaac June 11, 2007 at 10:40 am

Chris Meisenzahl, how durable are those LAMY pens? I imagine the fountain pen leaks some of it’s jarred around too much.

June 11, 2007 at 4:13 pm

I too have been using the black matte space pen since october 2005, using it with a moleskine of course. :)
I had Lots of problems with the clip falling off just as you did, and finally resorted to just dropping it in my back pocket, its been there for a year. the pen is sturdy, it took a few trips through the washing machine. although it is not toddler proof after a few minutes used to punch holes in things a new ink cartridge was required. I thinking about also picking up a silver one as well.

Ben June 12, 2007 at 3:52 pm

The clip is metal, so just bend it to make it a bit tighter. worked for me.

Brad Isaac June 12, 2007 at 4:58 pm

Thanks for the tip Ben, I also slid it further down the pen cap. It’s very tight now and has been securely fastened for 2 days now. :)

jmkeuning June 18, 2007 at 5:28 pm

Fisher used to make all manner of Fisher Space refills for our Montblancs. Recent internet rumors indicate that Fisher is ceasing. Seems to me that these refills solve your Montblanc problem. I was able to order some fine Blue refills off of eBay… Keep your eyes open.

I have not heard back from Fisher regarding the rumors, but I really want to see them continuing this product.

Brad Isaac June 19, 2007 at 2:16 pm

jm.. thanks for that info. I hadn’t heard of Mont blanc refills made by Fisher. I would imagine they write pretty well? Might have to ebay some! Hope to see you back soon.

Patrick West June 22, 2007 at 4:57 pm

I normally use Cross pens and even have one converted into a stylus. However I carry a space pen with me whenever the weather might be rainy. (In Oregon the normal state of affairs).

It is very useful for writing on all weather paper (there are a couple of different brands) and I have found using a reporter size notebook made of rain proof paper to be one of my most useful tools.

June 23, 2007 at 12:59 am

I went through the same thing, but haven’t yet bought one. I am deciding between cap or no cap, and matte black or chrome silver. Hmm..

Brad Isaac June 23, 2007 at 4:29 pm

Conner and others, the black matte seems more scratch resistent than the chrome and I found if I push the clip waaay down the cap it hasn’t moved in 2 weeks.

June 24, 2007 at 11:07 pm

ok – you’ve convinced me – just bought a black and blue one (no clips). Looking forward to testing them out as I’m on an eternal search for the perfect pen.

Brad Isaac June 25, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Darren, Good luck. Turns out I like my space pen more and more each day. It’s just so compact and easy to keep in my pocket it’s always there when I need it.

June 25, 2007 at 6:03 pm

can’t wait :-)

btw – ordered them on your amazon aff link – don’t spend it all at once!

Brad Isaac June 25, 2007 at 7:28 pm

Hey, I didn’t realize you were Darren from Problogger. Glad you stopped by. :)

If you end up not liking it (not likely) I’ll buy it back from you – using my Amazon link (where the real money is) of course

Gene Kim July 2, 2007 at 5:41 pm

Hi! Nice to see there are others out there that love this pen as much as I do. I’ve been attached to my space pen for about 7 years now (I’m more of a black ink/metalic silver/sans clip – kinda guy : ) It’s actually my second one, since I gave my first one away about 5 years ago to one of my best friends as a going away present (kinda sentimental cause he knew how attached I was to it). I can’t live without my gadgets, everything from iPods to the Swiss Tech Utility Key (another must have), but out of all the high tech gadgets I own – my all time favorite is still my metalic silver space pen. I literally never go anywhere without it because majority of the time I never go anywhere without my wallet and since buying my space pen years ago, I now will always look for wallets that have a small zippered pocket that I can hide my space pen in (doing away with that annoying little clip). I’m an artist and a graphic designer, so having a pen that is always near by whenever inspiration randomly strikes (as most of the time it seems to happen when you don’t have a pen around) is definitely worth its weight in gold! As gadgets go, I give it 5 stars out of 5.

July 6, 2007 at 11:45 am

Ahh the magic of the space pen,, it never lets me down.

I saw a great hack (And have been using it for quite a while with great results). Build a “pocket” with tape (cloth athletic tape seems to work best, I’ve also used hockey tape (black athletic tape) and it seems to blend in best). To build a 1/4″ diameter pocket on the back of the moleskine’s spine. Then you simply slide your pen in (you can cap the bottom side and then it only fits in when closed properly). That way everything you need is there together, and the whole thing fits nicely in your pocket. It’s my favorite way to go (I’m also a designer, and it has saved me a ton of time that way)

Jimmy July 6, 2007 at 6:14 pm

If I’m not mistaken Staples carries refills that have adapters for Mont Blanc and Parker pens. I have a Space Pen and I love it. I still carry my Cross pens with me though.

Chris Tucker July 9, 2007 at 3:39 pm

I got my “Astronaut” space pen around 1968/69.

Cost me something like US$5.00 and the inner seal from a bottle of TANG.

I still have it and carry it daily. It’s beat up as can be, a lot of the chrome plating has worn off, but it still works. Not bad for a ~40 year old pen!

Every few years I do have to buy a new ink cartridge for it.

I recently checked the prices for a new “Astronaut” pen. YOW! The cheapest I found was US$30.00 or so.

Michael June 20, 2008 at 6:39 am

I also had the problem of a fractured stylus– and it happened after like 3 days. Luckily fisher is good with repairs. 5 days after giving it to the shop, it came back with a new cap (styless). I asked them to replace with a normal cap because the whole pen is metal and rugged and that little plastic bit on the end just weakens the whole thing.

Now this pen works beautifully. I have already used two cartridges in around a month, I practice a lot of shorthand writing. I reckon one of those millenium fisher pens would be great. They have 48km of ink.

AZ June 22, 2009 at 12:14 pm

I use a lime green space pen and wea very happy with it – I’m an engineer and regularily work on rooftops in damp conditions. The pen writes nicely on damp paper, a must for me. Plus, the lime green stands out nicely if I drop it, which i do often enough. But now I have a problem… I dropped it on a hard surface just so that the cap got jammed and I can’t get it open! since the finish is so smooth, there is no grip! Any suggestions?

CWI March 15, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I enjoyed this post for being down to Earth, honest and clearly covering the obvious scenarios a commercial description will never do! I have been deliberating getting a space pen for some time now. I always test one at airport duty free shops and department stores but I still ask myself the same questions. Is it too thin to write comfortably over long periods of time? Does it write smoothly for left-handers too? Is there a smoother pen? I ask this as important exams loom on the horizon and I would like to be armed with the perfect pen! Any ideas would be much appreciated!

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