Saturday, February 17, 2007

Biro: Ball-Point Inventor

A sharpened quill (the shaft of a feather) was the standard writing instrument for over 1000 years before the fountain pen was invented in 1884. Then in the 1930s, Ladislao Biro, a Hungarian artist and journalist, invented the ball-point pen in Budapest. He fled when the Second World War broke out, eventually reaching Argentina.
With the help of his brother Georg, a chemist, he perfected the pen and manufactured it in Buenos Aires during the war. In 1944 he sold his interests in the invention to one of his backers who produced the Biro pen for the Allied air forces, because it was not affected by changes in air pressure. Ladislao Biro disappeared into obscurity, although his name became a household word throughout the world.

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