Almost everybody is familiar with the ballpoint pen. It is the easiest and most convenient way to write today. But why was the ballpoint pen created in the first place? We’ll take a look at its beginnings here in this article.
The first ballpoint pen
When we look at who invented the ballpoint pen, several names are written down in history, the most popular being László Bíró. In fact, the ballpoint is synonymous with his last name, which is why it is often called a biro pen as well.
However, we cannot forget the contributions of John Loud in the creation of the very first ballpoint. He was an American Harvard graduate and leather tanner who grew frustrated with fountain pens’ inability to write on leather. He decided to come up with a solution himself.
So why was the ballpoint invented? It was actually to write on leather. Loud’s ballpoint pen was the very first officially patented one on record. However, because of its design for marking up leather, it did not write well on paper. The pen did not become very popular and the ballpoint design faded into obscurity for a few more decades until the modern ballpoint was invented.
Why the modern ballpoint pen was invented
The modern ballpoint pen was a response to the inefficiencies and other issues that came with using the standard pen at the time, which was the fountain pen. There were several drawbacks that came with using this writing instrument, including long dry times, inability to write on surfaces other than paper, messiness, and maintenance.
At the time, literacy was becoming more widespread, and there was a much greater demand for a more versatile writing tool.
Many ballpoint prototypes were invented, but none of them caught on because of issues with the ink. Ink would overflow in the summer and freeze up in the winter. Inventors tried to solve the issue with solutions like springs, piston-pressurized reservoirs, and capillary action.
It was until László Bíró that it was possible to write without such problems. He noticed that newspaper ink dried much faster than traditional water-based fountain pen inks. However, when he tried to fill up both traditional fountain pens and ballpoint pens with newspaper ink, it turned out to be too thick and viscous to flow through the nibs.
Bíró enlisted the help of his brother György, who was also a chemist. Together, they started changing the formula of the newspaper ink. After several tries, they finally had an oil-based ink that dried almost instantly when it wrote on paper and other surfaces. It was also thick enough that it sat on top of the paper and didn’t bleed through pages.
While fountain pens are beautiful instruments that provide a premium writing experience, there is no denying that the ballpoint pen is extremely convenient and allows for much more versatile use. Today, there are many excellent ballpoint pen brands such as LAMY, Parker, Pilot, and more.
No matter which ballpoint or biro you choose, remember that it is thanks to inventors who wanted to aid in the spread of literacy and create a helpful writing tool for everyone to use.
Written by EndlessPens Blogger Ramona Kabigting