Google Doodle commemorates birthday of ball point pen inventor Ladislao Jose Biro

Google celebrated the hundred and seventeenth birthday of the inventor of the ball point pen, Ladislao Jose Biro.

Google celebrated the hundred and seventeenth birthday of the inventor of the ball point pen, Ladislao Jose Biro. The Doodle shows an animation of the ball point pen mechanism. Biro was a newspaper editor from Budapest, Hungary. A problem with ink pens was that the ink took a long time to dry. Biro noticed that the ink used in the printing press for newspapers, dried very quickly compared to the conventional inks used in fountain pens. Biro approached his brother, a chemist, to create an ink that could be used in a ball point pen, and that would dry quickly.

There were ball point pens before Biro. An earlier version could write on hard surfaces such as wood and leather, but did not work as well on paper. A tiny ball in the tip at the end of a cylinder of ink were used for pens before Biro, but these faced many problems. The ink would dry up in the tube itself, clogging it up. Alternatively, the ink would leak out and the pen would smear. The ink would not be deposited evenly on the paper in other versions. There was just not a commercially viable version of the pen.

Google Doodle commemorates birthday of ball point pen inventor Ladislao Jose Biro

A sketch of the Doodle. Image: Google.

Biro and his brother managed to develop an ink that was exactly viscous enough to work. He first demonstrated a prototype at the Budapest fair in 1931, but patented the final product only in 1938. The British patent for Biro went on to be used internationally, including American and Canadian companies. Bic, Reynolds and Paper Mate were some of the companies who bagged the rights to sell pens based on the Biro patent.

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