We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Ballpoint Pen?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Musical Expert is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Musical Expert, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A ballpoint pen is a type of writing implement invented in 1938 by Laszlo Biro. The ballpoint pen represented a significant improvement over fountain pens, which had a tendency to leak and could also fail at high altitudes. Biro's invention was widely used throughout the Second World War, and has come to be a common product in most households around the world, thanks to cheap manufacturing processes which make ballpoint pens readily affordable.

The ballpoint pen operates on a fairly simple principle. The ink for the pen is held inside a cartridge within the pen. At the tip of the pen, a ball bearing is seated inside a socket. The ball bearing picks up ink from the cartridge to write with while also acting as a seal to keep the ink from escaping. Ballpoint pens use a thick quick drying ink so that writers will not inadvertently smear their work, and the ball bearing also keeps the ink inside the cartridge moist so that it will not clog the pen.

Depending on how wide the ball bearing is, the subsequent line of ink will be thick or thin. Ballpoint pens come in a variety of widths ranging from standard to superfine, depending on the needs of the writer. Because of the controlled ink delivery system in a ballpoint pens, the line will remain consistent and the pen will also last for quite a long time, assuming that it is stored correctly.

Ballpoint pens were a revolutionary introduction to the writing world. Unlike fountain pens, they didn't spew ink all over the hands of the writer at random, and they were also very affordable. Many consumers appreciated the long lasting ink cartridge ballpoint pens are fitted with. Some manufacturers even make replacement ink cartridges, so that consumers can purchase a high end ballpoint pen and refresh the ink when it runs low.

The ballpoint pen is not without a sordid history: although Biro invented the pen and patented it in 1938, an American businessman named Milton Reynolds picked up the design and started marketing it in the United States. The ballpoint pen had not been patented there, so Reynolds was not technically in the wrong, although he did violate patent laws by attempting to sell the pen internationally. The Eversharp company, which owned the legitimate patent, sued Reynolds, and the battle captivated the public imagination. Unfortunately for both companies, their products were unreliable and the ballpoint pen began to be viewed as just a fad.

In the late 1940s, a French businessman named Bich improved the design, dropping the “H” from his name and selling Bic pens. By the late 1950s, Reynolds and Eversharp had folded, allowing Bic to dominate the ballpoint pen market. The low cost Bic pen is readily available all over the world, while more high end ballpoint pens continue to be manufactured by a variety of companies.

To handle a ballpoint pen properly, it is important to remember that the pen is gravity fed. Ballpoint pens write best when they are held perpendicular to the writing surface, with the tip facing towards the earth. Store a ballpoint pen tip up, so that the ink will not flow down the pen and clog it or begin to leak.

Musical Expert is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Musical Expert researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.