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Fourteen Fantastic Pen Facts

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Over the next few weeks we’re going to extend our interesting stationery facts series further by choosing a different item of stationery each week.

This week we’ll be focusing on the pen, from fountain and ballpoint to highlighter and quill.

  1. On average a pen can write approximately 45,000 words.
  2. In 1938, the firstballpoint pen was invented by Hungarian journalist Laszio Biro, however the first patent belonged to John Loud in 1888.
  3. The first fountain pen was invented by a New York insurance agent, Lewis Edson Waterman in 1883. Later Waterman had it patented in 1884.
  4. The ‘Nanofountain Probe’ is the smallest fountain pen on record; writing lines that are just 40 nanometre in width.
  5. For over 1000 years the quill was a popular writing instrument, with the first being used circa 700 A.D.
  6. Fountain pens with gold nibs, have the ability to learn. Due to the soft metal used it can slowly adjust and adapt to your writing style over time.
  7. A ‘Space Pen’ uses pressurised ink cartridges meaning that it can write underwater, in varying temperatures, at zero gravity and on wet and greasy paper.
  8. In June 1943, Biro and his brother Georg, a chemist made the first commercial models of the now well known Biro pens.
  9. Biro pens or ballpoint pens work whereby a small rotating ball made of brass, tungsten carbide or steel disperses ink when you write. This ball has two functions, not only does it allow ink to flow out of the pen at a controlled rate, but it also prevents the ink from drying up.
  10. The British government bought the rights to the Biro pens, so that they could be used by the Royal Air Force Crew. This was because the pens would still work at high altitude.
  11. In 1949 Marcel Bich introduced the first inexpensive ballpoint pen, aptly named BIC after himself.
  12. In 1963 the ‘Hi-Liter’ was developed in Massachusetts by Carter’s Ink, who developed a the water-based marker that emitted an eye-catching translucent ink.
  13. Permanent markers date back to 1910, where Lee Newman patented the first marking pen. In 1952 the ‘Magic Marker’ was then developed by Sidney Rosenthal.
  14. In 1984 gel ink was first invented by a company called ‘Sakura Color Products Corp’, based in Osaka, Japan. Gel pens were also developed by the same company.

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