Ballpoint Pen Day
Also known as
National Ballpoint Pen Day
annually on June 10th
Ballpoint Pen Day celebrates the achievement of László and György Bíró, two Hungarian brothers who were the architects of the ballpoint pen. The consensus is that Ballpoint Pen Day takes place on June 10th because it was on June 10, 1943, that László Bíró applied for a patent for his pen.
László Bíró first tried to stop pens from smudging by attempting to use newspaper ink in fountain pens. This proved ineffectual as the ink was too thick for the pens. With the help of his brother, Bíró then created the ball and socket for the ballpoint pen. A metal ball at the end of the pen sat inside a socket, which allowed it to rotate. Quick-drying ink rolled onto the surface the pen was placed on, while more ink was gathered on the side of the ball that faced the inside of the pen, which then rolled onto the surface, repeating the process. Bíró invented his first ballpoint pen in 1931, which he showcased at the Budapest World Fair that year.
Bíró aimed to produce his pens in Hungary with business partner Andor Goy, but with rumblings of World War II approaching in 1938, Bíró fled to Argentina after being unable to find refuge in Europe. He formed a company to manufacture his pens and applied for a patent for them in 1943. The pens were believed to work well not only on land but in the air, not leaking in flight as other pens did. They were demonstrated to the Royal Air Force in London and the U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C., and then went into production for the Allies.
Ballpoint pens went into commercial production in 1945. The first commercial ballpoint pen was the Reynold's Rocket, which was first sold at Gimbels in New York City. Early pens were rather expensive, but their price dropped over time. Bíró sold his patent to Marcel Bich, who created Bic pens, further spreading the popularity of ballpoint pens around the world. Ballpoint pens eventually supplanted the fountain pen as the most popular pen. Today they are used all around the world and are considered to be affordable and reliable. Some ballpoint pens sell for mere pennies, and they are able to write about 50,000 words or 100 pages on average. In a nod to their creators, they are sometimes called "biro" pens. But the Bíró brothers not only have a pen named for them—they have a whole day dedicated to them today!
How to Observe Ballpoint Pen Day
Celebrate the day by writing with a ballpoint pen! You could give ballpoint pens to your friends, coworkers, or employees, or to anyone you come in contact with today. Keep your eyes peeled for pen discounts and giveaways from pen companies, as they are known to offer these today. It's also a great day to start collecting ballpoint pens or to read a book about László Bíró.