Complete Ballpoint Pen History

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 their absence is noticeable. These things can include a ballpoint pen.

Despite increasing gadgets, cellular networks and electronic signatures. Manufacturers, and shops of ballpoints such as the Parker pen company hold their positions even now. Today it’s possible to see expensive pens as fashion accessories or addition to a businessman’s image. So important in history national ballpoint pen day marked on June 10th.

At first glance, this is a fairly simple object. These days, nobody attaches importance to pen designs, and shapes.

Table of Contents

The First Pen

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

Once in the state of Massachusetts, inventor John J. Loud invented the first ballpoint pen. US patent No 392,046 this event occurred on 30.10.1888.

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

fancy writing pen

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 their desired profit.

Following designs were not good enough, leaked and deteriorated. Sometimes the ball itself, performing its main function of rotation fell out after several times of use. As a result, John J. Loud would become a pioneer in creating pen history. 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 it thawed. In winter it refused to work at all because the ink froze.

Biro Brothers

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

A thought to create a pen appealed from frustration to Hungarian newspaper journalist László József Bíró in the mid-1930s. From his work, he often visited printing houses. One day, as he watched machinery produce dry news sheets. He thought it would be great if it dried out as fast as print inks.

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

Move Countries

With his design, Laszlo enticed his brother György, a chemist, and together they developed a new design. They had an idea to replace the sharp tip for an ink-filled rod. With a freely rotating tip on the end, then everything should happen.

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

In 1941, his brother moved too. In the same year. Hungarian siblings and Argentine friend Juan Jorge Meyne, who became the project investor, to produce a ballpoint pen using thick inks. The first pen appears on sale in 1943 under the brand Birome (a mixture of the surnames Biro (Biro) and Maine (Meyne)). It’s curious that in Argentina “Birome” still called ball pens of different brands.

Postwar Implements

History of the pen in America resembles an action-novel. That in 1943, American commercial traveller Milton Reynolds, traveling through south America, 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 with no license. After an advertising campaign on October 29, 1945, the first batch of Reynolds pens went on sale. Sold under the brand Reynolds Rocket in New York department store Gimbels at a price of $12.50. Fifty police officers had to maintain order. With 8 million made by Reynolds international pen co in the six weeks prior, ten thousand sold out in days!

Design Wars

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

writing pens wholesale

Bic Pen

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

In 1950, he licences biro’s patent and creates an “atomic grip”. Which, following fashion, gave this name to his product. He organizes a large-scale company. Within two years, the company produced over 40 million. And since 1965, we could buy Bic Cristal in almost any country.

Artistic pen sketch

Design History

Bic employees believe (and declare this) ink in their pen enough to draw a continuous 2 km line. Thanks to its practical design, a humble ballpoint became an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It has a transparent case, through which the 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 Ball Point

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

Classic Style

Types of ballpoint pens

Price category shows quality, and role of each pen. Simple plastic handles can be disposable and with replaceable body. Removable caps or push-button mechanisms for activating letters. Such models are inexpensive, less than one pound, and most often serve not for long.

Average price category includes pens for everyday use. Models of this segment have mechanisms for extending refills they use (push-button or rotary). Aluminium parts and rubber inserts also abound.

image of pen writing

Fancy Writing Pens

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

Twist Ballpoint Pens

A.T. Cross Company has 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 remained key figures a century 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 with quality issues Cross didn’t release one until 1953. Cross released their first twist ballpoint pen in 1954 with its mechanism similar to ones used in their pencils. A slim refill and the “Cross Century” popular to this day.

Pen Parts
Pen 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 pens are reliable stylish models that not only adorn the look of a present-day person but also testify to their high status and good taste.

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

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Daria

    Ages ago, when I was learning about blogging, someone mentioned to me that I could even write about pens – because there will no doubt be someone who will want to read about them. I don’t write about pens, but I was so thrilled to see a blog about them! A fascinating story, thank you for putting this together 🙂

  2. John Whitlock

    Thank you Daria, it is actually a large and interesting subject with more to follow.

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