The Ball Point Pen

May 27th Celebrates -The Ball Point Pen

Guess who invented the ball point pen, give up?

A fellow by the name of Laszio Biro patented the ball point pen on May 27th 1943, but who was Laszio Biro?

Laszio was editor of a paper in Budapest called, “Hongrie-Magyarország,” in Hungary, and he also was interested in painting and sculpture.

One day while working with several tiny balls, he accidentally spilled a bottle of ink. Watching the balls track the ink across the table gave him the idea for his invention.

When the ink spilled onto a newspaper he noticed the ink dried quickly, leaving the paper dry and smudge-free. He tried using the same ink in a fountain pen but found that the tip didn’t flow correctly, as it was too viscous. Working with his brother György a chemist, he developed a new tip consisting of a ball that was free to turn in a socket, and as it turned it would pick up ink from a cartridge and then roll to deposit it on the paper.

Biró continued working to design an ink of the right consistency, first assisted by his brother György, and later in workshops owned by the firm of Goy and Kovalszky he reduced the size of the ball, so the pen could be used for writing. He first presented his pens at the Budapest International Fair in 1931.

In 1943 both brothers moved Argentina and filed another patent on June 10th and were later called, the Biro Pens of Argentina, also known as the birome.

The new pen design along with his new name caught the attention of Royal Air Force crews who used the pen and realized it worked much better than a fountain pen at high altitudes.

Today’s YouTube video clip from user name Stuff of Genius from the popular television series called, How Stuff Works, gives you an idea how the ball pen evolved through history.

The new design of the pen was licensed for production in the United Kingdom, and it 1945 Marcel Bich who owned a factory in Paris brought the patent from the two brothers, which soon became the main product of his Bic Company.

Alas all is not forgotten in who really designed the pen. Laszio Biro died in Buenos Aires in 1985; Argentina’s Inventors Day has always been celebrated on his birthday, which is September 29th.

So the next time you steal office supply at work, remember this little story how the ball pen came about by accident, and how one’s my vision took that little accident and made into something we all use on a daily basis.

Written and Designed by JD Mitchell

J.D Mitchell Design Studio


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