September 29, 2016
Ladislao José Biro’s 117th birthday
You may not know the name Ladislao José Bíro, but you certainly know his most famous invention: the ballpoint pen.
Bíro was born in Budapest, Hungary, into a Jewish family. A journalist by trade, Bíro noticed how efficiently newspapers were printed and how quickly the ink dried – in stark contrast to his fountain pen. He worked with his brother, György Bíro, a chemist, to develop a new type of pen made up of a ball that turned in a socket. As the ball turned, it picked up ink from a cartridge and rolled to deposit it on paper, much like a newsprint roller transfers an inked image to paper.
Bíro presented the first prototype of the ballpoint pen at the Budapest International Fair in 1931, later patenting his invention in 1938. To this day, the ballpoint pen is still referred to as the “Biro” in several countries.
Today we celebrate Bíro and his relentless, forward-thinking spirit on the 117th anniversary of his birth.
Below you can see an early sketch for the Doodle: