The ball point pen is used by millions of people throughout the world each day and most don’t even take the time to think about this amazing invention. Ball point pens are used to sign important documents, write amazing books and compose beautiful music. They come in a variety of different colors and styles and are found everywhere from the kitchen counter to the school desk. So who invented this modern marvel? Read on to find out.
The Invention of the Ball Point Pen
The man that is credited with the invention of the ball point pen is László Bíró. This ambitious Hungarian newspaper editor created the ball point pen as a solution to the amount of time he spent filling his fountain pen and cleaning up the smudges left when the ink was smeared. After observing how quickly the ink used to print newspapers dried, he worked on a way to use this ink in a pen form. As the ink used would not flow from a fountain pen nib Bíró had to come up with a new way to get the ink from the pen to the paper. Bíró created a pen with a tiny ball in the tip that when moved across paper would rotate in the ink inside the pen and transfer it smoothly to the paper. Bíró filed a British patent on 15 June 1938. He also acquired a patent for the ball point pen in Argentina in 1940. They were marketed by the British as the Biro and used by RAF aircrew as they worked much better than fountain pens at high altitude.
Whilst Bíró’s is recognised as the inventor of the ball point pen as we know it, various models were in use before his was marketed. In 1888 John Loud created a ball point pen to mark his leather products. A fountain pen was not suited to this task so Loud created a writing instrument with a rotating ball held in place by a socket. While this was sufficient to mark leather it was too coarse for letter writing.