How was the ballpoint pen invented?

Tag  Categories: Inventions, Technology

From the days of the feather ink pen – the quill, to the fountain pen to the ballpoint pen, to the body roll-on deodorant it is very interesting to see the process of thinking in the invention of the ballpoint pen. With changing time, although many interesting products like the gel pens have arrived, the ballpoint pen still holds center stage. Let us peek through time and see how the ballpoint pen was invented.

Lazlo Biro was a journalist by profession and a Hungarian who first invented the ballpoint pen in the year 1938. Biro then had seen the ink type that newspapers were printed with would get dry very quickly. So he decided to use this ink in a pen which would use a special nib since the conventional nib would not allow the ink to flow freely onto the paper. He fitted a ball bearing to the point of the pen and then when ink was filled up the bearing would pick up the ink and put it on paper on which it was written. This principle goes way back in history to the year 1888.

A great successful sale was of Gimbel ballpoint pens in New York. They were sold out at the sale of 10,000 pens each selling at $12.50. They advertised it as a fountain pen of a miracle which could write for two years without having to be filled with ink. This was in actual no new pen but the same as a ballpoint pen which was invented around 10 years earlier to this. An American John Loud basically a leather tanner patented the roller tipped ballpoint pen in which he created a reservoir of ink. The major nuisance was the ink which if thin would leak and if too thick would not flow. This pen was used to mark leather hides.

Fifty years later came the next stage of development of ballpoint pens. In Hungary an improved invention version came about when Ladislas Biro and brother Georg would frustrated with fountain pens started the invention of new types of ballpoint pens. While he was on a vacation the Biros met up an elderly gentleman who happened to be the president of Argentina and whom they showed their latest invention of the ballpoint pen. The capillary action design of the ballpoint pen was produced in Argentina. Although it was not a great success, he approved and asked them to put up a facility to manufacture the pens in Argentina. When the World War II commenced and the Biro brothers set out to Paris and then to Argentina, they patented the pen in Paris and carried on to Argentina to set up their factory.

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