The Original ShortyPen
About The ShortyPen
My grandfather, the greatest sailor in my family, used to carry a stubby little pencil in his pocket and would pull it out to jot down notes or sketch drawings of projects. I tried it for a while but kept stabbing myself in the leg with the point.
Then I started making short pens out of long ones and instead of keeping it in my pocket, I kept them in the fold of my wallet. I used it all the time because my dad (who was an electrical and mechanical engineer) and I would go to all night diners and dream up various project ideas. We would draw sketches on napkins of those things we were going to build someday.
Why in the wallet, instead of keychain?
I have owned a number of keychain pens and they all fell apart. Not because of their construction, but because of the abuse - stuff that dangles on your keychain gets beat up pretty bad ! Also you pull your keys out of your pocket multiple times a day, giving the pen ample opportunity to fall off and become lost. The Shorty Pen is intended to be carried in the fold of your wallet, where it is kept protected and safe.
This short pen worked out so well because I take my wallet with me everywhere and I never put my wallet in the laundry. I always have either a credit card recipt to write on, or can pickup napkins or paper towels from the restroom. It is always easy to find something to write on, the hard part is having a pen handy!
The Right Size
I tried making a bunch of different sized pens, and found that after the pen can cross between your fingers and the hand, it doesn't matter how long it is, it won't effect the handwriting. So I have fairly large hands and made the pen so it would rest properly on my hand, which is 4.5" when open.
Games You Can Play With A Shorty Pen
I was visiting with a friend of mine and he pulled out a pocket sized digital game. He was showing me all the games he plays with his kids, so I pulled out my Shorty Pen and explained that it is the game system I use with my kids. I explained that we played Tic Tac Toe, Hang Man, dots and boxes, and others. He laughed, but it is true - there are many games you can play with a Shorty Pen, below are a few that I know of, plus here is a link to many games you can play with a pen and paper:
Tic Tac Toe (plus larger grids & 3D)
Dots and Boxes
Pen for Geocaching Container
Pen and Paper games at Wikipedia
Not Available For Sale
I made and sold them for a long time, but so many other companies started making pocket pens that I couldn't stay competitive.
Fisher Space Pen Myth - Launch the Moon Lander:
"Houston, we have a problem..."
The story is that when re-entering the landing module, either Buzz Aldrin or Neil Armstrong broke off the switch that was used to ignight the rocket engine which would return them to the service module orbiting above the moon. Buzz radioed the famous call "Houston, we have a problem". Since they didn't have tools with them, they used a metal fisher space pen to jam into the body of the switch, which made the electrical contact, and ignighted the rocket engine. This is FALSE. I watched a discovery channel program called "First To The Moon" where Buzz fully described the event, and it is different than the myth. Buzz said that it was a circuit breaker that was broken off (not the ignition switch), and that he needed to reset the breaker. He said that he removed the rest of breaker head, and then pulled out the exact pen he used in space which was a plastic felt tip pen. He chose that one because it was plastic and would not make contact while he jammed it inside the body of the breaker to reset the mechanism. Then when it was time to launch, he used the regular ignition switch. The other thing is Buzz didn't make that famous call, the "Houston we have had a problem" was made during the apollo 13 flight.
"Shorty Pen" is a trademark owned by David Routh, who created the Shorty Pen back in 1981, and then created this website to sell them on the internet in 1999.