Technology

Google celebrates ballpoint pen inventor with doodle

A screenshot of the Google doodle.  

In a long list of inventors who have lent their names to their creations, Ladislao José Biro is perhaps one of the least known. But his invention has stood the test of time — the ballpoint pen, also called the biro.

To honour his 117th birth anniversary, Google has created an animated doodle showing how a ballpoint pen works. “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,” says Google’s doodle blog.

“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,” the blog continues.

Since Biro invented the pen during World War II, the British Royal Air Force became the first buyers of his invention, one he refined even as he fled from Nazi forces.


Our code of editorial values