On June 10, 1943 the Bíró brothers, László and György, became owners of US Patent 2,390,636 – better known around the world as the ballpoint pen
You use this at least one time per day. You use different colors of this. Especially, it is your best friend when you take down notes or write answers for an exam. You use it to write whatever you want. You may have already guessed; it is none other than the ballpoint pen.
A ballpoint pen is a writing instrument which features a tip that is automatically refreshed with ink. Currently, it consists of a precisely formed metal ball seated in a socket below a reservoir of ink. As the pen is moved along a writing surface, ink is delivered.
The first great success for the ballpoint pen came on an October morning in 1945 in New York’s Gimbels Department Store. The day before Gimbels had taken out a full-page ad in the New York Times, promoting the first sale of ballpoints in the United States.
On that first day of sales, Gimbels sold out its entire stock of 10,000 pens-at $12.50 each! Actually, this ‘new’ pen wasn’t new at all and didn’t work much better than ballpoint pens that had been produced ten years earlier.
In 1888, John Loud, an American leather tanner, patented a roller-ball-tip marking pen. Loud’s invention featured a reservoir of ink and a roller ball that applied the thick ink to leather hides. John Loud’s pens were never produced.
The next stage of development came 50 years after Loud’s patent, with an improved version invented in Hungary in 1935 by Ladislas Biro and his brother, Georg. Ladislas Biro was editing a small newspaper,where he was frustrated by the amount of time he wasted filling fountain pens and cleaning up ink smudges.
Ladislas and Georg determined to develop a better pen and set about making models of new designs and formulating better inks to use in them.
One day, Biro brothers met a special elderly person, Augustine Justo, who happened to be the president of Argentina. At that time, they showed their pen models to him. As the result of that, President Justo urged them to set up a factory in Argentina.
When World War II broke out in Europe, a few years later, the Biros fled to Argentina, stopping in Paris along the way to patent their pen. Once in Argentina, the Biros found several investors willing to finance their invention, and in 1943 they had set up a manufacturing plant. Unfortunately, the pens were a spectacular failure. They try to fix its problem.
But their pens were not successful in market. After that, USA pen manufacture company, Eberhard Faber Company paid the Biro brothers $500,000 for the rights to manufacture their ballpoint pen in the United States. But their inventions are also with too many bugs.
Meanwhile, in a surprise move, a 54-year-old Chicago salesman named Milton Reynolds became the first American manufacturer to market a ballpoint pen successfully. At that time, many of the patents had expired. So, he decided to copy Biros’ design. He started his own company and made millions of pens and became fairly wealthy.
Several inventors gave their contribution for evolution of modern pen. Patrick J. Frawley Jr and Fran Seech are two main contributors among them. The other man to bring the ballpoint pen successfully back to life was Marcel Bich. He decided to pay royalty fee for Biros’ patent. He resolved to design a high-quality pen at a low price that would scoop the market.
Today, there are so many types of ballpoint pens. Over one hundred million pens are sold each year worldwide. Now it has become a competition among the companies to make profit.