Like everyone in the United States, I grew up enjoying the ubiquity of ballpoint pens. I never questioned or wondered about the invention. I knew about fountain pens, but did not use one. I recall my grandmother having one. I’m sure that it was similar to people remembering ancestors riding in horse-drawn carriages.
Ballpoint pens have become throw away items and cheap giveaways with branding. I have evolved backwards and returned to writing with a fountain pen...
All this brings me to an item I noticed on one of the many sites that I skim. It seems that today is Mr. Biro’s birthday. Most, if not all, Americans will say: Who?
I became familiar with the word Biro through books, which attempt to teach Germans the English language. I could not understand why Germans were told to call a ballpoint pen a Biro. I have since learned that most Europeans do.
The below blurb explains this. Of course, it was only natural for Americans to ignore an inventor that lived in a foreign country...
László Bíró (1899) Frustrated by the way his fountain pen's sharp tip would tear paper and by the amount of time he wasted filling the pen with ink and cleaning up smudges, László Bíró set to work developing a better pen. A Hungarian newspaper editor, he noticed that the ink used in newspaper printing dried quickly and without smudging, but it was too viscous for use with existing pens. With the help of his brother, a chemist, he developed the modern ballpoint pen.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.