The first ever ballpoint pen went on sale today. Everybody thinks of Biro when you think of ball point pens; and rightly so since Hungarian inventor Laszlo Biro invented the first ballpoint pen. However, the first ballpoint pen was actually released by Reynolds International Pen Co. on the 29th of October 1945.
Rumors started coming out of Argentina (where Biro lived at the time) of an inventor creating a pen using a ball bearing instead of a nib using instant drying ink that rolled smoothly onto the page. This was a break though invention at the time; a great improvement on fountain pens with internal ink cartridges which had been developed in previous decades. Biro swiftly registered a patent for his invention to allow time to develop and commercialise his product to prevent others beating him to the market.
However on the 29th of October 1945 Reynolds International Pen Co released the first ballpoint pen ignoring the patent being the first manufacturer of the ball point pen. In the meantime Biro had sold his patent to a company called Eversharp; who had tried to stop the release of Reynolds pen however their attempts ultimately failed to stop the release. Reynolds claimed the patent is invalid as the technology for ball bearings where centuries old.
The release was met with much fanfare; one store in Manhattan called Gimbel Bros had ordered 50,000 pens, by the end of the first week they had already sold 30,000; at the whopping $12.50 each. The pens came with claims they could last up to two years without refilling; and would write under water, on paper, cloth, plastic or blotters. In the first 6 months of sales Reynolds had sold over $5.6Milion (USD) worth of pens.