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Pens That Write Wherever You Go

April 07, 2002|JUDI DASH

If you think all pens are equal, behold these versatile versions, which can come in handy on the go. Products may be available in area stores. Prices do not include shipping.

Ink-credible: Those who have never owned a Fisher Space Pen have missed the relief of knowing the ink will flow smoothly in freezing cold, boiling heat, underwater (or in the rain), upside down, even in zero gravity. (The pen has been tested in space.)

A sealed pressurized ink cartridge enables the ball to write no matter how the pen is held or what it's writing on. The Telescoping Pen model is all one piece; there's no cap to lose.

Pull back on the shaft about half an inch to expose the point; push to close it. Closed, the pen measures 37/8 inches; open, 47/8, making it a natural to stash in your pocket or carry-on bag.

Telescoping Pen (model TLP) is $35. For information, contact the Fisher Space Pen Co.; (800) 634-3494, www.spacepen.com.

Pen-ultimate: It was only a matter of time before some clever pen manufacturer realized that the top of the instrument might be used for housing more than just the usual clip-on device.

Built into the translucent top of the Swiss Pen, from Wagner, are a small retractable knife/letter opener, nail-file/screwdriver and scissors. All obvious assets on a trip.

Pressing the insignia at the top of the barrel activates a mini flashlight, fueled by one included button battery. The ink cartridge and battery are replaceable. Can a pen telephone be far behind?

Swiss Pen (65440) is $49.95 from Hammacher Schlemmer; (800) 543-3366, www.hammacher.com.

Quick-change artist: Cross pen sets have a tradition as gifts for pivotal events: bar mitzvahs, graduations, first jobs.

Now the pens have made some notable strides of their own. The new Cross Matrix is a multi-function writing instrument. On one end are dual ball-point pens: Twist the pen tip one way for red, the other way for blue. On the opposite end is a PDA stylus tip. Pull the stylus module out of the barrel, flip it, and you have a fountain pen or gel roller ball pen (depending on the model). The fountain pen and roller ball modules are interchangeable and available separately for more flexibility. The roller ball unit can be removed and replaced with a yellow document highlighter (good for marking maps or guidebook pages), which is included with that unit.

Cross Matrix is $70 to $80. For information, contact Cross; (800) 722-1726, www.cross.com.

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