Until 1938, anyone getting off the ground on the rare airplanes had to put up with the fact that they would have to be writing with a pencil or get stained head to toes with ink that the internal pressure would push out of “eternal feathers.” In that year, the Hungarian journalist Laszlo Biro came up with a way to put an end to it: he replaced the tip at the end of the pen, which was fashioned after goose feathers, with a small ball. During the WWII, the invention was used by British pilots. And only them, because the wider audience had no idea about the existence of these special aviator's pens that do not stain your hands and can write kilometers of lines without a refill.
And then the war was over. An on October 29, 1945, the Gimbels department store in New York put on display a never before seen product, the ballpoint pen. The new product was supported by advertising, but it was promoted to Americans, not yet a much-flying nation, as the first pen that could “write under water.” And it worked: sold at a whopping price of 12 dollars, a monthly income of a laundrywoman, ten thousand pens were bought on the first day. History does not report on whether each buyer did dive with their purchase.
But it was recorded that the ballpoint pen had been in space. Soviet cosmonauts used pencils to make their flight notes. Ever the aesthetes, Americans could not be satisfied with this, and they invested millions and years into developing a special pen that could write in zero gravity. This high internal pressure pen allowed the crew of Armstrong and Aldrin to get back to Earth from the Moon. They used the barrel of a pen to replace a broken lever on one of the numerous and critically important switches.