Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ballpoint Pen Day

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword

Would you believe that 100 people die each year from choking on ballpoint pens?!  Seriously, how does one actually accomplish that?  Nevermind, I don't think I want to know.  Just something else for me to worry about with a toddler who's just learning how to draw and loves to snag any pen that's within his reach.

Although the ballpoint pen was originally thought up in 1888, the first semi-successful ballpoint pens sold in 1945 for $12.50 each!  So glad they failed miserably in order to lower the price... well, at least for the majority of ballpoint pens.  Unless you're a really rich person with nothing better to do with your money than buy one of those fancy shmancy pens.  Such as the most expensive pen, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, which is a platinum pen that is worth a million euros. (which, at the time of this post, is approximately 1.2506 million US dollars, boys and girls.  That price tag alone would be enough to choke me to death!)

A good pen can write up to 50,000 words.  That's all that really matters, if you ask me.

You wouldn't think, however, that the history of the ballpoint pen would be interesting at all... and from the eye rolling and sarcasm of our oldest, I take it he doesn't believe me either.  But hear me out... the actual search for a successful ballpoint pen was really a hard task.  It took many years and many inventors came and went, failing miserably.  Patent after patent was filed and expired with very poor results.  Either the ink leaked or clogged up, they had to be held completely straight up and down for gravity to help the ink come out, and people had lost faith that a successful ballpoint pen could be made.

Ballpoint pens have come a long way since they were first invented.  Now you can get all different kinds of shapes, sizes, colors, designs, etc.  Some can even be held upside down to write.  There's something for everyone.  But have you ever wondered how they actually work?  (But there's more to it than just that.)

Desperate for something to replace the fountain pen, which took up valuable time having to refill constantly, and also leaving many a smudge, the Biro brothers came up with a new pen design using Capillary Action.  Capillary action is the result of adhesion and surface tension.  It all gets quite scientific, but it really is very interesting.  And honestly, I couldn't explain it better than this guy.  Personally, I love science, but this blog isn't exactly a scientific journal that I'm writing, so I'll let you decide to pursue the links and read up on that aspect.

Of course, some people just can't let well enough alone and must do something totally freaky and amazing (beyond the million euros pen, which is just a plain pen made with a lot of expensive material) such as this next multi-functional pen that is strange looking, but I'd love to try one out:

It can even play music, has a light, a memory card and plugs into your computer.  What more could the digital-aged writer ask for?!  (that's a hint if anyone's looking for a unique gift for me *wink wink nudge nudge*)

So, what's your favorite writing instrument?  Do you prefer pencils?  Is there a particular pen you love?  Do you do everything on the computer and therefore can't even find a writing instrument?  Personally, I can't live without my Four Color Bic Pen!  They have a medium point (blue case,) a fine point (the orange case,) and pastels (in the neon green case.)  It's great for sketching, note taking, highlighting (by underlining, of course) in different colors, etc. No matter how fancy a pen can get, there's nothing, in this writer's humble opinion, that matches the four color Bic!

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