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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The Ball Point Pen

The Ball Point Pen, or Biro, was invented by Laszlo Biro, an Hungarian newspaper editor. It has two major advantages over the fountain pen, viz it is extremely cheap to make, and the ink dries almost immediately after writing.

The pen came on to the UK market after WW2, whilst I was at school. In those days we had to use either "school ink", a disgusting concoction which was poured into your desk inkwell and involved using a school pen with disposable nibs, or if you were lucky your parents bought you a fountain pen and a bottle of Stephenson's blue-black ink. When the Biro became available, we were not allowed to use it on the grounds that one's handwriting would suffer - and there is a modicum of truth in this for although the ballpoint enables you to write much more quickly, neat formation of letters is not as easy as with a traditional nib - or at least I find this is the case.

During WW2, the RAF issued early ballpoint pens to aircrew as they found that they worked much better than fountain pens at high altitude.

Do we now write much more than previous generations I wonder ? The Biro has made writing quicker and easier, and anyone can carry one around without worrying about ink leaking everywhere. It's better than a pencil for most purposes, and is just about permanent. Will new technology and electronic notepads slowly replace handwriting ? I hope not, I like my biro !!


  1. Great Post ! I am officially following your blog . This stuff is very inspiring :)

  2. I've always loved the ball point pen for fine art.
    You can do some amazing art with heated ball point pens.

  3. Your post is very nice... I think I should put this for my project! Thanks! :D

  4. i think so too i hope you had a great mark for your project