From time immemorial, people have found a way to write. As far back as 3,000 B.C., the ancient Egyptians used reed straws with split ends to write on papyrus. The reed, quill, and dip pen have all gone down in history as writing instruments. Today, the fountain pen remains a classic instrument, whether it be a fountain pen, fountain pen or ballpoint pen. We had apparently evolved from a messy quill and ink.
A pen might not be something that everyone uses, but it’s definitely something that every one of us uses, tablets, smartphones, and whatnots are there. But how well do you know about this modern writing tool? Here are some interesting facts that will make you look at the pen in a new way.
Origin of the Ballpoint Pen
The ballpoint pen was originally designed for the Royal Air Force of Great Britain because the pen flows in jets from reduced atmospheric pressure. The pen cannot write in space and in a state of weightlessness. In October 1888, John J. Loud patented the first ballpoint pen. The pen was used to mark skin, but was too rough to work on paper.
Over the years, many revisions and remakes were made by different inventors in an attempt to find a ball that was loose enough to allow ink to flow but tight enough not to enter the ink tube. In 1938, Laszlo Biro, a Hungarian newspaper editor, filed a patent for the first successful pen. The ink used is a quick-drying version of newsprint ink. It attached a ballpoint pen with a small ball that would spin in the socket.
Random Unique Trivia
It may not be the most common accident, but did you know that globally, more than 100 people die every year from choking on a plastic pen cap? So you might want to rethink your pen chewing habit while thinking about what to write next. Another interesting trivia about pens is that it takes 22 pens to run a marathon. The average Bic Cristal ballpoint can produce a line of about 2km. So because of that, one pen can cover the height of the Empire State Building not once, but four times! Finally, it is said that in 95% of cases, if a person were given a pen, the first word he would write using the pen would be his name.
World’s Most Expensive
Pens can also be associated with a luxury lifestyle as luxury pens have emerged in recent years. Actor Robert Patterson famously bought his girlfriend and pen collector, Kirsten Stewart, a $46,000 limited-edition Tibaldi Bentley Crewe fountain pen, which has a two-tone 18 ct yellow gold nib plated with rhodium and ruthenium. The Tibaldi Fountain Pen, the Montergrappa Fountain Pen, and Mont Blanc are just a few of the brands that are known for their very expensive pens embellished with precious stones.
Montergrappa for example is launching a limited edition series “The Dragon 2010 Bruce Lee” which ranges from $4,675 to $102,200 with an extremely rare three-piece set selling for $290,550. For a mind-blowing $730,000, one can avail the Mont Blanc and Van Cleef & Arpels Limited Edition Mystery Masterpiece, which commemorates the famous brand’s collaboration. There are of course $1,470,600 Aurora Diamante, the most expensive writing instrument to date. Only one piece is sold each year. It contains more than 30 carats of De Beers diamonds on a solid platinum barrel. It has a bi-tone 18KT solid gold pen, is rhodium treated, and is personalized with a crest, signature, or portrait.
Celebrities and their Pens
Kirsten Stewart isn’t the only self-confessed pen collector. Many of us enjoy spending money on our pen collections or on loved ones. Be it a personalized pen from National Pen or the posh Parker from the bookstore, fountain pens always have a way of pleasing their devotees. Interestingly, some of history’s most famous events were created, told, and written about through the penchant of some famous people. Anne Frank’s famous diary was apparently written with a Montblanc ballpoint pen. He loved the pen so much that he even wrote and wrote an ode when it was accidentally thrown into the fireplace!
Albert Einstein was using a Pelican 100 N and a Waterman Taper-cap Fountain Pen when he developed his Theory of Relativity. Today, Waterman’s pen is on display at the Boerhaave Museum in Leiden. Meanwhile, Parker 51 has been Her Majesty’s personal choice since 1959. Both the Queen and Prince of Wales have awarded Parker Royal Warrants.