National Ballpoint Pen Day on 10 June

Pencils need constant sharpening and it can be difficult to avoid smudges with fountain pens. The invention of the ballpoint pen solved our dilemmas with writing implements.

The triumphant march of the ballpoint pen

Hungarian László József Bíró spent 18 years working on the basic form of our modern ballpoint pen, with help from his brother. He had his invention patented in the US in 1938. The principle was not completely new, however. Other inventors, including Galileo Galilei, had already worked on a similar concept. The big breakthrough came once businessman Henry George Martin became involved. He realised that the ballpoint pen would even work at high altitudes without creating a mess. He therefore purchased the patent from Bíró and began series production. He would earn millions from another’s fantastic idea. However, the ballpoint pen is still named after its inventor in many countries.

The invention

Bíró worked as a journalist for a weekly newspaper. He noticed that the ink used in newspaper printing presses dried much quicker than the usual inks in order to prevent smudging. This inspired him to look into designing a leak-free writing implement. He developed a more viscous ink together with his brother. However, this was too thick for conventional fountain pens. While looking at rotation rollers in a printing shop, Bíró came up with the idea of replacing the nib of the fountain pen with a rotating metal ball. The ballpoint pen was born.

The astronaut pen

According to modern legend, NASA spent a million dollars developing a special ballpoint pen. American Paul Fischer produced the “space pen” in 1965, independently of NASA. This ballpoint pen could also work in space under zero-gravity conditions. This was important, as pencils were considered dangerous and impractical for the space programme. A special ink that could even flow under zero-gravity conditions was invented for the space pen. This ballpoint pen works in any position, even upside down. The astronaut pen can also withstand temperatures of between -45°C and +120°C. The specially designed ballpoint pen was first used on the Apollo mission and has been an essential part of every space trip since.

10 June – National Ballpoint Pen Day: join in the celebrations!

Celebrate National Ballpoint Pen Day on 10 June with your customers! There is no need to go to any great expense for this. Simply spread a little joy among your customers on this day by gifting them a ballpoint pen as a thank you with every purchase. Or set up a table with a ballpoint pen presentation, showcasing various ballpoint pens and birthday cards.

The ballpoint pen continues to evolve. With all of its different shapes, colours and styles, it is one of our most important writing tools. Every German owns 13 ballpoint pens on average.

To surprise your customers with various different ballpoint pens, visit Insights-X. You will find numerous offerings and current designs for your range at the stationery expo in Nuremberg from 4–6 October 2018.

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