You are lying in bed and want to write something down into you notebook. You have a hardcover notebook so you can hold it in the air and write. You try to write something with the notebook being above your head but your pen stops working. You try it again in "normal position" it works.
So my queston is how to write with a pen upside down? Is it even possible, or it's a major flaw in pen design?

  • 3
    Well it can be a problem for astronauts as well @Chenmunka
    – Plexus
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 12:36
  • You can hold your pen by the side opposite to its ball point and swing it in the air a couple of times, with as much force as you can. After that you will be able to write with it being upside down again, for about 10 seconds. If you're ready to do the swinging every 10 seconds or so, the problem is solved.
    – Headcrab
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 4:13
  • Have you tried a felt-tip pen? Those rely more on capillary action than ballpoints or fountain pens, so should work better than those. I haven't tried this myself though.
    – Hobbes
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 8:27

3 Answers 3


Good that you mentioned astronauts in one of comments, because this reminded me some myth that cosmonauts used to use pencils while NASA spent lot of money on creating spece pen

This article says that both astronauts and cosmonuauts actually used special Fisher's pens which I think you could buy online and use to write upside down in bed.

And of course much cheaper solution would be to use pencil (while it does not fit astronauts in space needs it should be good enaough for your usecase)

  • My mom had one of those famous pens for writing upside down (with little pumping hearts in the advertisement) but it never worked as expected.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 11:49
  • 2
    In addition to Fisher, there are other companies that sell pens advertised to work upside down. a search for "upside down pen" gives lots of results.
    – Hobbes
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 8:16

Use a pencil, maybe?

(I don't have enough rep to put this in comments)

  • It's the only right answer.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 11:48
  • Well yeah, but I was looking for a pen solution...looks like only a "space pen" can do it.
    – Plexus
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 12:59
  • If you've got that much money, sure why not!
    – Sachin
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 13:01

You need a pen with a pressurized ink capsule/cartridge.

  • The Space Pen mentioned above is one such pen
    • The ink capsule/cartridge contains a ball at the top with pressurized nitrogen injected behind it. As ink is consumed, the pressurized nitrogen pushes the ball further down the cartridge.
    • If one was to crack open a pressurized ink capsule/cartridge, low viscosity ink would forcefully exit the capsule.
    • The pressurized ink capsule, combined with the ink formulation, also allows the Space Pen to write when submerged in a liquid.

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