“Goodbye blotters, stains on hands and ink that drools as you pass your wrist…”
The pen and inkwell had reigned unchallenged for ages on the desks of French schoolchildren when a government decree authorized, very officially, the use of the ballpoint pen on September 3, 1965. Goodbye blotters, stains on the hands and ink that drools on the wrist for left-handed people.
The arrival of the Bic® in the classroom was acclaimed by the students: it is more practical for writing and smarter, especially when it is transformed into a blowpipe.
It all started in 1888 when an American tanner, John Loud, developed a ballpoint pen for writing on raw leather. Unfortunately, the ink dries quickly in contact with the air and prevents the ball from rolling. It was not until 1938 that Lazlo Biro (ex-hypnotist and proofreader for a Budapest newspaper) filed a patent in Paris for the invention of an ink supply system.
The English firm Reynolds marketed a pale copy in 1945. Despite its prohibitive price and ink leakage concerns, it sold 10,000 copies on its launch day.
“Inspired by bees, he opts for a honeycomb shape that allows for a perfect grip.”
The object interests Baron Bich: this visionary French entrepreneur negotiates the use of the patent with Biro and rethinks the design. Inspired by bees, he opted for a honeycomb shape for a perfect grip. He had a hole drilled in the tube to compensate for the effects of atmospheric pressure and optimize the flow. He tests many types of inks to find the most fluid. He opts for a transparent tube, to allow monitoring of the ink level. Another big revolution: the pen will be disposable. This marketing and communication genius launched the Bic® in 1950: “Only 5.8 grams for at least 2 kilometers of writing.”
“The world’s best-selling pen with more than 100 trillion copies.”
The Bic® Cristal is still the best-selling pen in the world, with over 100,000 billion copies sold. The Bic has even conquered the art world, exhibited at the Moma and Beaubourg, it has been used by many artists, from César to Magritte, through Giacometti or Fernand Léger. His story will still be talked about!