Dick Hunt's Blog

April 1, 2010

The First Ball Point Pen

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 3:47 pm

The First Ball Point Pen
by Dick Hunt, April 1st, 2010.

To the best of my knowledge, in the  mid to late 1940’s the first Ball Point Pen hit the market, with a whimper.  The advertiser was a man called Reynolds. He had put an ad in a farm magazine which my eldest  brother read. He was intrigued by the description of the technology if not  the price.  We were just beginning to crawl painfully out of the deep depression on the prairies and the advertised price was eighteen dollars, including ‘shipping and handling’.  Wilf was a very careful spender, but was bitten by the prospect of having one of these new pens.  He bought a Money Order and sent it off with the order form.  In due course it came in the mail.
He treated it with the greatest of respect, only using it  for very special  times.  The ink didn’t flow for very long. There were no refills available He never tested it to see if it really would write even under water as advertized.  But he kept the non functioning remains around for some time.  He was always a very  inventive person and was intrigued by a pen which could write with a ball instead of a nib.
How many people ten years into the twenty first  century even know what a nib is any more. In my  ten years in a one room country school, (I passed all ten grades with ease) , we used pen nibs. ‘Sprotts Number one and Sprotts number two, and later ‘fountain pens’. In winter the ink froze overnight as the schools became very frigid  and barely warm with a roaring fire in the Pot Bellied Heater in the daytime. No insulation at all.  No ‘storm windows’.  We thawed the ink by putting the ink wells on top of the heater with a screened top. If we didn’t remove the cork the hot ink would ‘blow the cork’ and the ink splotches on the ceiling were mute evidence of that. They remained to remind us for all the ten years of my studies there.  Now we just get some new throw away ball points.

– see history of the Ball Point Pen <http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa101697.htm&gt;,  a quote from that article here:

  • June, 1945: Less than a month after Eversharp/Eberhard close the deal with Eterpen, Chicago businessman, Milton Reynolds visits Buenos Aires. While in a store, he sees the Biro pen and recognizes the pen’s sales potential. He buys a few pens as samples. Reynolds returns to America and starts the Reynolds International Pen Company, ignoring Eversharp’s patent rights.
  • October 29, 1945: Reynolds copies the product in four months and sells his product Reynold’s Rocket at Gimbel’s department store in New York City. Reynolds’ imitation beats Eversharp to market. Reynolds’ pen is immediately successful: Priced at $12.50, $100,000 worth sold the first day on the market.”

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