Ballpoint pen debutes ….

The concept of using a ballpoint within a writing instrument as a method of applying ink to paper has existed since the late 19th century. In these inventions, the ink was placed in a thin tube whose end was blocked by a tiny ball, held so that it could not slip into the tube or fall out of the pen.

The first patent for a ballpoint pen was issued on 30 October 1888 to John Loud who was attempting to make a writing instrument that would be able to write on rough surfaces, such as wood, coarse wrapping-paper and other articles which then-common fountain pens could not. Loud’s pen had a small rotating steel ball, held in place by a socket. Although it could be used to mark rough surfaces such as leather, as Loud intended, it proved to be too coarse for letter-writing. With no commercial viability, its potential went unexploited and the patent eventually lapsed.

The manufacture of economical, reliable ballpoint pens as we know them arose from experimentation, modern chemistry and precision manufacturing capabilities of the early 20th century. Patents filed worldwide during early development are testaments to failed attempts at making the pens commercially viable and widely available. Early ballpoints did not deliver the ink evenly; overflow and clogging were among the obstacles inventors faced toward developing reliable ballpoint pens. If the ball socket was too tight, or the ink too thick, it would not reach the paper. If the socket was too loose, or the ink too thin, the pen would leak or the ink would smear. Ink reservoirs pressurized by piston, spring, capillary action and gravity would all serve as solutions to ink-delivery and flow problems.

Laszlo Bíró, a Hungarian newspaper editor frustrated by the amount of time that he wasted filling up fountain pens and cleaning up smudged pages, noticed that inks used in newspaper printing dried quickly, leaving the paper dry and smudge-free. He decided to create a pen using the same type of ink. Biro enlisted the help of his brother Gyorgy, a chemist, to develop viscous ink formula for new ballpoint designs.

Bíró’s innovation successfully coupled ink-viscosity with a ball-socket mechanism, which acted compatibly to prevent ink from drying inside the reservoir while allowing controlled flow. Bíró filed a British patent on 15 June 1938.

In 1941, the Bíró brothers and a friend, Juan Jorge Meyne, fled Germany and moved to Argentina, where they formed Bíró Pens of Argentina and filed a new patent in 1943. Their pen was sold in Argentina as the Birome, which is how ballpoint pens are still known in that country. This new design was licensed by the British, who produced ballpoint pens for RAF aircrew as the Biro. Ballpoint pens were found to be more versatile than fountain pens, especially at high altitudes, where fountain pens were prone to ink-leakage.

Bíró’s patent and other early patents on ballpoint pens often used the term “ball-point fountain pen” (from Wikipedia)


This day in history…Donald Duck

DonaldDuck-PixabayDonald Duck made his debut this day in 1934 thanks to Disney. He is most famous for his semi-intelligible speech and his mischievous and temperamental personality. Along with his friend Mickey Mouse, Donald is one of the most popular Disney characters and was included in TV Guide’s list of the 50 greatest cartoon characters of all time in 2002. He has appeared in more films than any other Disney character and is the most published comic book character in the world outside of the superhero genre. (from Wikipedia)

Did you know Donald Duck has a middle name? In Donald F. Duck, “F” stands for “Fauntleroy.”

Best Friend Day


Best Friend Day is always celebrated on June 8th.  If you’re lucky, you have a best friend or maybe more than one at the same time or over time. Friends come and go for a variety of reasons, usually the result of moving, changing schools or jobs or …..

Enjoy and appreciate your best friend(s). It’s the day to cherish that relationship.

National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

chocolate ice cream-pixabay

June 7th is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. Chocolate ice cream is the second most common flavor of ice cream, after vanilla, even though it was created first.

The flavor has been in existence since 1750 BC in Mexico, having been found at a pre-Olmec archaeological site. The Mayans were drinking chocolate around 400 AD. By the 15th Century, the Aztecs gained control of a large part of Mesoamerica and adopted cacao into their culture.  Although Columbus took cacao beans with him back to Spain, chocolate made no impact until Spanish friars introduced it to the Spanish Court.  After the Spanish conquered the Aztecs, the chocolate was imported to Europe, and until 1800 chocolate was a rare and exotic dessert enjoyed mostly by the elite.

I won’t bore you with the details of ridding chocolate of its bitterness or inventing a press to remove about half the natural fat (cocoa butter), but these innovations introduced the modern era of less expensive chocolate. A Swiss chocolatier invented milk chocolate by mixing a powdered milk developed by Henri Nestle. Cadbury manufactured boxed chocolates in England by 1862 and in 1903, Milton S. Hershey purchased chocolate pressing equipment at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and soon began the career of Hershey’s chocolates with chocolate-coated caramels. (from Wikipedia and me) (July 7th is National Chocolate Day….or at least one of them)

Old Maid’s Day

old maid-card game image

Old Maid’s Day is always celebrated on June 4th.

Being a single, unmarried, woman is no longer looked upon as a something to avoid. Women can now choose to focus on their lives and careers, postponing marriage and children until later in life. Some choose to always remain single, independent and self-sufficient forever. Years ago being unmarried and childless was very much frowned upon, and these women were referred to as “old maids” or “spinsters,” a degrading term.

The day came about when WWII ended and millions of soldiers were returning home with a boom in marriages. Sometime during that period, it was noticed that there were plenty of maidens waiting for returning GIs, some of whom, unfortunately, might wait in vain.  (some material from National Day Calendar, Cute Calendar and me)