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The battle of patents, or the True story of a ballpoint pen

The battle of patents, or the True story of a ballpoint pen

Few people know the name John laud. And yet he is the first inventor of the ballpoint pen. It is the one that we all use every day today. He received his patent for a "fountain pen with a rotating tip" on October 30, 1888.

It is worth noting that for the next 30 years, the us Patent office issued an average of 11 similar patents per year, but none of the invented pens eventually became a commodity.

And all because the inventors could not cope with the hated ink. They then emerged, however, it froze, barely reaching the ball. The best thing managed to create is a ballpoint pen that wrote when the air temperature is +21 °C. However, if the air temperature dropped below +18 °C pen is clogged, and if it rises above +25 °C — leaking and left blots.

Hypnotist and journalist

This was the case until the journalist Laszlo Biro took over. Since the pen is the main working tool of any journalist, Biro experienced all the difficulties with ink.

Laszlo Biro was born in Budapest. His father, Matthias Biro, was a dentist. And Laszlo, following in his father's footsteps, after school also entered the medical faculty, but did not graduate from the University. For a time he practiced as a hypnotist. He then worked for the company for the processing of petroleum, participated in the race and even came up with a manual transmission. The patent, however, for this discovery he sold to General Motors. In one word, head have young men was on place! And so he was tossed from one extreme to the other, until finally he became a correspondent. To improve his working tool — a pen — Laszlo Biro called for help of his brother George. The latter was a chemist by profession and decided on an experiment to create perfect and leak-free ink.

Presidential aid

But is unlikely to be the brothers Biro managed to launch his invention in the mass market. Chance decided everything. Once, resting on the Mediterranean sea, Biro met with the then President of Argentina-Augusto Justo. They told him about their development and even showed him an admirably writing pen. The Argentine President was so interested in the project that he suggested that the brothers open a factory in their country for the production of ballpoint pens.

When world war II began, the Biro brothers decided to leave, and not anywhere, but in Argentina. There, under the patronage of the President, they enlisted the support of some investors and established the production of pens. However, the idea failed. Biro's pen had to be kept in an upright position at all times, otherwise the ink would not get on the ball and the writing would be intermittent. The Biro had suspended production and were back in the lab. The result of research was a capillary pen with siphon pumping ink.

However, the new model of handles did not cause a stir. In the end, the brothers ran out of money, and production had to stop.

The success of plagiarism

The Biro brothers were not very agile and were able to register their patent for the pen only in Argentina. They failed to do so in the United States. This fact did not fail to take advantage of the local businessmen/

For example, Chicago businessman Milton Reynolds met Biro pens in Argentina. Therefore, when he returned to America, he found out that earlier exactly the same invention had been patented by another American — John Laud. By that time, laud's patent had expired. Reynolds made his own ballpoint pens based on Biro's design (and simply stole the idea) and issued a new patent in the United States, but in his own name.

The success of Reynolds ' pens was huge. When the first batch first went on sale, the authorities even put up a police cordon to restrain the pressure of buyers. On the first day it was sold 10 thousand new products.


However, the delight of buyers was short-lived. The handle, as before, proceeded, left stains and ruined clothing.

BIC Pens

A new era in the production of ballpoint pens began thanks to Marcel Bisch. He later changed his name to BIC, and in this form it became a world-famous brand.

BICK had watched the production of pens for a long time, their sudden rise in popularity and subsequent decline. And then he decided to make the pen disposable, thereby reducing its price to the cost of the rod-29 cents instead of 10 bucks. As a prototype for his pen, BICK used the development of the Biro brothers.

In 1950 Marcel Bich bought the patent Laszlo Biro and seriously upgraded his invention. For the production of their pens, he used a Swiss a very accurate method of processing metal, whereby the balls in the handles of steel with a diameter of only 1 mm. Such a ballpoint pen wrote thinner, and the ink is not leaked and do not leave dirty spots on the paper.

In addition, the BIC made its collapsible handle. They could change the rod, which cost as much as the handle itself. Throughout the history of the production of ballpoint pens Marcel BICK came up with a variety of pen designs, but still the original, the simplest, has always been the main source of income of the company.

Today, the production of pens is diverse. There are pens with clocks, radios, dictaphones. Not so long ago there was a pen-computer, which writes with ordinary ink on special paper, and the built-in camera recognizes the written text and sends it directly to the computer. But despite all these achievements, the most common ballpoint pen is not inferior to its position and continues to be one of the easiest and most purchased items in the world.




2770, Republic of Bulgaria, Bansko, mailbox 46. For Lobanovskii Oleg