Free Postage On All Writing Implements Over £60.00 Across United Kingdom

A Complete Ballpoint Pen History All You Need To Know

A Complete Ballpoint Pen History All You Need To Know

Ordinary, but necessary things in everyday life, surround us every day. We are so accustomed to some that we do not notice their presence, but the absence is noticeable. These things can include a ballpoint pen.

Despite the increasing modern gadgets, cellular networks and electronic signatures. Manufacturers, and shops of ballpoints such as Parker pens hold their positions in the market. Today it’s possible to see expensive pens as a fashion accessory or addition to the image of a businessman.

At first glance, this is a simple and fairly simple object. In our time, nobody attaches importance to ballpoint pen designs, and shapes.

The First Ball Pen

But did you know before 1888, no one even guessed that they would come to replace the fountain pens. Ballpoint pens now conquer the entire globe with their convenience and ease of use?

Once in the US state of Massachusetts, inventor John J. Loud patented the world’s first ballpoint pen. US patent No 392,046 this event occurred on October 30, 1888.

The design of the ballpoint pen by John J. Loud resembles modern ball deodorants. The thick core of a ballpoint pen passed ink to a rotating ball. Being able to leave marks on rough materials, leather, wood or wrapping paper. For ballpoint pens, it used special inks; they were more viscous than those that came with fountain pens. Unsuitable for writing on paper the patent lapsed.

The New Century

Over the next 30 years, there was a mass of people to patent their own varieties of writing instrument. But John Loud kept the secret of his universal popular invention, and his followers did not receive the desired profit.

Their designs were not good enough, leaked and deteriorated. Sometimes the ball itself, performing the main function of rotation fell out after several times of use. As a result, John J. Loud could become a pioneer in creating a ballpoint pen. Competitors did not bother him, thanks to secrets known only to him.

But the invention of Mr. J. Loud, as it is not pitiable had its drawbacks. For example, it leaked in hot weather, because the ink thawed. In winter it refused to write at all because the ink froze.

The Biro

It was only in the 30s of the 20th century that the Bíró brothers (Hungarians by nationality) – the chemist György and the journalist Laszlo Biro – made a ballpoint pen that would not dirty the hands and clothes of the writer, and also not leave blots.

The idea to create a pen appealed from frustration to the Hungarian journalist Laszlo Jozsef Biro in the mid-1930s. From his work, he often visited the printing house. One day, as he watched machinery produce dry news sheets. He thought it would be great if the fountain pen dried out as fast as the print ink.

László researched and realized that it’s still not possible to develop such a comfortable fountain pen. For the quick drying ink, it must be thick enough, and such ink will clog the capillary action of the fountain pen. But László did not stop there. “If you cannot use thick ink in a normal stick pen,” he decided, then you need to come up with some other writing tool.

Move Countries

With his idea, Laszlo enticed his brother György, a chemist, and together they developed a new design. The brothers came to the idea that if the sharp tip of the pen changed for a rod filled with ink. With a freely rotating ball on the end, then everything should happen.

In the summer of 1938, the prototype of a ballpoint pen created by the brothers turned out usable. But with world war II, the liberal journalist Laszlo Biro did not want to live in Hungary who supported the Third Reich. Soon, taking the prototype pen he emigrated to Paris, then Spain, and Argentina.

In 1941, Brother György moved to Argentina. In the same year. The Hungarian brothers and Argentine friend Juan Jorge Meyne, who became the project investor, to produce a ballpoint pen. The first pens appear on sale in 1942 under the name Birome (the mixture of the names Biro (Biro) and Maine (Meyne)). It’s curious that in Argentina “Birome” still called ball pens of different brands.

Postwar Implements

The story of the ball pen in the United States resembles an action-novel. That in 1943, the American commercial traveller Milton Reynolds, traveling through Argentina, bought a “Beer”. An enterprising businessman realized the ballpoint pen would make him cash if he mastered its mass production in America.

On return home, Reynolds made inquiries about the pen. Patented Biro’s invention in the USA under his own name (before the inventor did it himself). Then mastered mass production of a ball-point pen without a license. After a massive advertising campaign on October 29, 1945, the first batch of Reynolds pens went on sale. Sold under the name Reynolds Rocket in a large New York department store Gimbels at a price of $12.50. Fifty police officers had to maintain order. With 8 million pens made in the weeks prior, ten thousand pens sold out in a few days!

Pen Wars

The insolence of Reynolds outraged Laszlo Biro and his American partners. Wahl-Eversharp, which bought the license from Biro, sued Milton Reynolds but did not defend its right to a US patent. Milton Reynolds referred in a court to the American patent of John J. Loud, dated 1888. Reynolds said his pen was a reduced copy of Loud’s invention, and Biro’s construction has nothing to do with it.


Marcel Bich, followed the success of the Biro brothers. Not yet gained a patent, he was already an investor in the technology of fine metal processing. He developed a tiny ball bearing for a stainless-steel handle (now tungsten carbide used to make it). The metal ball diameter was only a millimeter (it was unthinkable accuracy).

In 1950, Bich buys out a patent and creates an “atomic grip”.  Which, following the fashion, gave this name to his product. He organizes a large-scale company. Within two years, the company produced 40 million ballpoint pens each. And since 1965, we could buy Bic Cristal in almost any country. In 1966.

Design History

The employees of Bic believe (and declare this) the ink in their pen enough to draw a continuous 2 km line. Thanks to its practical design, a ballpoint pen became an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in the city of New York. It has a transparent case, through which the ink level is visible. There are holes in it to equalize pressure in the rod – envelope the ball with paste. The hole in the cap that appeared in 1991. Made so that any child who swallowed it could not suffocate.

Fisher Space Pen

Paul Fisher improved the characteristics of the ball pen. He could create a space pen which took a special place in the history of ballpoint pens since it was possible to write even in zero gravity. With a pressurized cartridge it could write on almost anything from grease to metal.

Types of ballpoint pens

Price category indicates quality, and the role of a ballpoint pen. Simple plastic handles can be disposable and with a replaceable stem. A removable cap or push-button mechanism for activating letters. Such models are inexpensive, less than a pound, and most often serve not for long.

The average price category includes pens for everyday use. Models of this segment have mechanisms for extending the rods they use (push-button or rotary). Aluminium parts and rubber inserts in the detachment.

Luxury Ballpoint Pens

Premium or business class represented by high-quality famous brands. The range of prices within the category is also large and depends on the materials and finishes. Luxury pens from Mont Blanc or Montegrappa into the mid-hundred pounds.

Twist Pens

A.T. Cross Company a long history developing, manufacturing writing implements. Richard Cross starting the company in 1846. An employee Walter Boss purchased the company in 1916. His family remain key figures in the family a hundred years later.

The Cross company known for several historical developments. A propel-repel mechanical pencil the forerunner of today’s mechanical pencil. Stiff competition from 150 pen manufactures also with quality issues Cross didn’t release one until 1953. Cross released the first twist ballpoint pen in 1954 with a mechanism similar to the one used in the pencil. A slim refill and the “Cross Century” still popular to this day.

Pen Parts
The Components

Retractable pens

Retractable ballpoint pens first appeared in 1950 from “The Frawley Pen Company”. With several parts, barrel, 2 cams, thrust button, springs and cartridge. Examples from, Parker or Waterman ballpoint pens are reliable stylish models that not only adorn the look of a modern person but also testify to the high status and good taste of the owner.

Ballpoint pen takes its rightful place in the world of stationery. This irreplaceable item even became the creator of a separate art direction. The pictures drawn with their help appreciated by critics. A wide range of applications and ease of use. A large selection of models define the ballpoint pen as the most demanded accessory for writing.

Follow Me On Social

You can find me on Facebook or any of the other social media networks, or sign up to the newsletter. Only one newsletter a month and we promise not to spam you or sell on your details.

Some links in these blogs may be affiliate links. I may earn a money from some of these links, this helps to support the website.

Leave a Reply

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter