How does it work? - Ballpoint pen
The invention of the ballpoint pen made writing a lot easier.
ballpoint pen, writing, writing instruments, László Bíró, pencil, fountain pen, ink bottle, cartridge, ink, technology
The ballpoint pen is the most commonly used modern writing instrument, its history goes back to the 17th century. Galileo is said to have designed the first ballpoint pen. The first patent on a ballpoint pen was issued in 1888 to John Loud, and later several improved versions were invented throughout the world. However, these instruments also had several problems.
Modern chemistry and the appearance of precision production lines, the use of capillary systems and ink paste revolutionized the technology.
László Bíró, a Hungarian journalist patented his ballpoint pen in 1938. Later that year he emigrated to Paris and then to Argentina to escape the Holocaust. The success story of his pen started there in 1943. His invention was copied by many, with more or less success. Since the 1960 Biro pens are commonly used throughout the world.
The father of the ballpoint pen
László József Bíró (also known as Ladislao José Biro) (Budapest, 1899 - Buenos Aires, 1985) was a Hungarian journalist. He worked as editor of several magazines and newspapers in Budapest in the 1920s, but he became known as an inventor.
In France a company called Societé BIC purchased the patent to manufacture ballpoint pens. Ballpoint pens are widely referred to as ‘biro’ or ‘biro pen’ in many English-speaking countries, in Spanish they are called ‘birome’. During World War II the Royal Air Force also used ballpoint pens, as they worked better than fountain pens at high altitudes.
In Argentina Inventors’ Day is celebrated on László Bíró’s birthday, September 29.
Fountain pens depend on gravity to pull the ink down to the nib. The ink needs to be relatively thin, so it dries slowly and often smudges. This problem was solved by inventor, László Bíró’s 1938 patent of ballpoint pens.
In a ballpoint pen the nib is replaced by a tip that ends in a tiny rotating metal ball, usually 0.5-1.2 mm (0.019-0.047 in) in diameter. This allows the ink to be more viscous and dry faster than traditional inks.
The manufacture of ballpoint pens started in Argentina in 1943. Today they are commonly found everywhere in the world as they are mass produced and cheap. There are refillable and disposable ballpoint pens.
The inventor’s name is still used in several languages to refer to ballpoint pens, for example ‘biro’ in English or ‘birome’ in Spanish.
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