Every writer has it. Every student needs it. Every teacher brings it along with him, also every secretary, and most especially every journalist. What is it? A ballpoint pen, or commonly known as ball pen. Pen, from the Latin word pinna which means feather, is a long, thin, rounded device used to apply ink to a surface usually paper for the purpose of writing or drawing. There are several different types of pen, including ballpoint, roller ball, fountain, and felt-tip. A ballpoint pen dispenses viscous oil-based ink by rolling a small hard sphere, usually 0. –1. 2 mm and made of brass, steel or tungsten carbide. The ink dries almost immediately on contact with paper. This type of pen is generally inexpensive and reliable. (Wikipedia) Ballpoint pen has a long history. It passed on many developmental stages before it became as a worldwide tool for writing. The story begins on 1888 when John Loud, an American leather tanner, patented a roller-ball-tip marking pen. Loud’s invention featured a reservoir of ink and a roller ball that applied the thick ink to leather hides. However, it was never produced for the ink was the major problem - if the ink was thin the pens leaked, and if it was too thick, they clogged. Depending on the temperature, the pen would sometimes do both. After almost fifty years, an improved version of Loud’s patent was invented in Hungary in 1935 by Ladislao Biro and his brother, Georg. Ladislao Biro, who studied medicine, art, and hypnotism, was editing a small newspaper-where he was frustrated by the amount of time he wasted filling fountain pens and cleaning up ink smudges. Besides that, the sharp tip of his fountain pen often scratched the newsprint (paper). Determined to develop a better pen, Ladislao and Georg, who was a chemist, set about making models of new designs and formulating better inks to use in them. One summer day, the Biro brothers met Augustine Justo, the president of Argentina. After the brothers showed him their model of a ballpoint pen, President Justo urged them to set up a factory in Argentina. A few years later the Biro brothers fled to Argentina and found several investors willing to finance their invention, and in 1943 they had set up a manufacturing plant. The Biro brothers devised a new design, which relied on "capillary action" rather than gravity to feed the ink. The rough "ball" at the end of the pen acted like a metal sponge, and with this improvement ink could flow more smoothly to the ball, and the pen could be held at a slant rather than straight up. One year later, the Biros were selling their new, improved ballpoint pen throughout Argentina. But it still was not a smashing success, and the men ran out of money. In an attempt to corner the market, the Eberhard Faber Company paid the Biro brothers $500,000 for the rights to manufacture their ballpoint pen in the United States. Eberhard Faber later sold its rights to the Eversharp Company, but neither was quick about putting a ballpoint pen on the market. There were still too many defects in the Biro design. Once again, it looked as if the ballpoint pen would be a complete failure. For the pen to regain the public’s favor and trust, somebody would have to invent one that was smooth writing, quick drying, nonskipping, nonfading, and most important didn’t leak. Two men, each had his own pen company, delivered these results. The first was Patrick J. Frawley Jr. Frawley met Fran Seech, an unemployed Los Angeles chemist who had lost his job when the ballpoint pen company he was working for had gone out of business. Frawley was so impressed with his work that he bought Seech’s new ink formula in 1949 and started the Frawley Pen Company. Within one year, Frawley was in the ballpoint pen business with yet another improved model-the first pen with a retractable ballpoint tip and the first with no-smear ink. As more and more retailers accepted the pen, which Frawley named the "Papermate," sales began to skyrocket. Within a few years, the Papermate pen was selling in the hundreds of millions. The other man to bring the ballpoint pen successfully back to life was Marcel Bich, a French manufacturer of penholders and pen cases. He went to the Biro brothers and arranged to pay them a royalty on their patent. Then for two years Marcel Bich studied the detailed construction of every ballpoint pen on the market, often working with a microscope. By 1952 Bich was ready to introduce his new wonder: a clear-barreled, smooth-writing, non-leaky, inexpensive ballpoint pen he called the "Ballpoint Bic. The ballpoint pen had finally become a practical writing instrument. The public accepted it without complaint, and today it is as standard a writing implement as the pencil. (The Great Idea Finder) “Cops and soldiers wield guns, journalists wield words, and it’s a tossup which one is mightier, the pen or the sword, when reckoned not just in terms of how they cut to the quick but in terms of how quick they take to a cut. “ - Conrado de Quiros Ballpoint pen plays a significant role in the society as the universal tool for writing. First, ball pen serves as the basic need of every student. With it, he can take note of the important things that his teacher discussed about. He can also use it when he takes quizzes and examinations. It is the most important thing that a student should have for writing is always done in school. Thus, a student should always remember the Filipino saying, “Huwag pumunta sa giyera kung wala kang dalang bala. ” Next, ball pen are really useful for everyone. A teacher uses it to write his lesson plans and check his students’ papers including home works, quizzes and projects. A secretary uses it to jot down important information that his boss would like to keep in mind. A doctor uses it to make a prescription for his patient while a cashier uses it to sign receipts of any transactions. A police uses it to record facts in a blotter. An artist uses it to draw while an engineer uses it to write formulas and solve problems. A pen friend uses it to write a letter for his pen pal. A journalist uses it to bare witness and to uncover truth as he writes his piece. Furthermore, ball pen can also be useful in any other ways. It can serve as a stick to hold and organize a woman’s hair. One can use it to vandal on a chair or draw different characters on any paper bill. If something is itching on an individual’s back, he can use it to scratch it without even experiencing difficultness to reach for it. If alarm by a stalker, one can use it as a tool for self defense. Its cap can also be used to clean the dirt under one’s nail. Nowadays, people also organize contest for the most number of a ball pen spin. “The pen is the tongue of the mind. ” – Miguel de Cervantes Ball pen is very helpful to an individual. It is an instrument used to write ideas and emotions which can never be expressed orally. It is the dialect of one’s thoughts and imagination. It is a tool in expressing oneself through writing. Ball pen is the most common device which everyone is likely to have. It is cheap and convenient. It is handy and can be found anywhere as long as it is needed. It comes in different colors: black, blue, red, green, pink, violet and any other else. It also comes in different sizes and different brands. It passed through different developmental stages. It serves a significant role in the society and it has been helpful to each individual, but ball pen as it is, it is not made with an eraser. Its blot can never be removed and will always be remembered. As a ballpoint pen, it will always leave a mark.
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