Alexa

Iconic pen used by military, made by blind people turns 50

In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo, SKILCRAFT pens, manufactured for the U.S. Government, are seen in a bin at the Industries of the Blind in Green...
In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo Clifford Alexander Sr., right, and Christopher Alexander box SKILCRAFT pens for the U.S. Government at the Indus...
This Monday, April 16, 2018, photo shows a poster in the SKILCRAFT pen section at the Industries of the Blind in Greensboro, N.C. where pens are manuf...
In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo employee Lynn Larsen, whom is legally blind, assembles SKILCRAFT pens for the U.S. Government at the Industries ...
In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo, employees Lynn Larsen, left, and Clifford Alexander Sr. box SKILCRAFT pens for the U.S. Government at the Indus...
In this April 16, 2018, photo, employee Clifford Alexander Sr. boxes SKILCRAFT pens for the U.S. Government at the Industries of the Blind in Greensbo...
In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo SKILCRAFT government pens are prepared transported by machinery through the production line at the Industries of...
In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo, employee Christopher Alexander makes his way through the SKILCRAFT pen assembly area at the Industries of the B...
In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo an efficiency counter is shown at the SKILCRAFT pen manufacturing area at the Industries of the Blind in Greensb...
In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo, employee Lynn Larsen, whom is legally blind, assembles SKILCRAFT pens for the U.S. Government at the Industries...

In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo, SKILCRAFT pens, manufactured for the U.S. Government, are seen in a bin at the Industries of the Blind in Green...

In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo Clifford Alexander Sr., right, and Christopher Alexander box SKILCRAFT pens for the U.S. Government at the Indus...

This Monday, April 16, 2018, photo shows a poster in the SKILCRAFT pen section at the Industries of the Blind in Greensboro, N.C. where pens are manuf...

In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo employee Lynn Larsen, whom is legally blind, assembles SKILCRAFT pens for the U.S. Government at the Industries ...

In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo, employees Lynn Larsen, left, and Clifford Alexander Sr. box SKILCRAFT pens for the U.S. Government at the Indus...

In this April 16, 2018, photo, employee Clifford Alexander Sr. boxes SKILCRAFT pens for the U.S. Government at the Industries of the Blind in Greensbo...

In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo SKILCRAFT government pens are prepared transported by machinery through the production line at the Industries of...

In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo, employee Christopher Alexander makes his way through the SKILCRAFT pen assembly area at the Industries of the B...

In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo an efficiency counter is shown at the SKILCRAFT pen manufacturing area at the Industries of the Blind in Greensb...

In this Monday, April 16, 2018, photo, employee Lynn Larsen, whom is legally blind, assembles SKILCRAFT pens for the U.S. Government at the Industries...

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Anyone who's served in the military, worked for the federal government or addressed a package at the post office is probably familiar with an iconic government pen.

But they might not have realized it was made by the visually impaired for the past five decades.

The ubiquitous SKILCRAFT U.S. Government pens turning 50 this month.

National Industries for the Blind traces the pen's history to April 20, 1968, when it was introduced to government buyers. The nonprofit organization was tapped to supply pens after another manufacturer made 13 million defective ballpoints in 1967.

The pens must be able to write a continuous line 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) long and keep the ink flowing despite extreme temperatures — from 40 degrees below zero to 160 degrees (4 to 71 degrees Celsius).