Since the dawn of men, humans have been using varied tools to write, record, or draw. Through time, these tools have evolved along with the knowledge of humans. These tools might include sharp stones that cavemen used to draw on their walls; reed brushes that ancient Egyptians used to scribble on their papyrus (a material similar to thick paper); quill pen that was first used in Quram, Judea dated around 100 BC; copper nib that was used in Pompeii dated year 79; pen with a reservoir, also in Egypt year 953; a later reservoir pen that was developed by a German and made with two quills in 1636; fountain pen that was patented by the French government in May 1827; ballpoint pen that was first patented on October 30, 1888; mechanical pencil (automatic pen) and solid-ink fountain pen developed in Austria-Hungary dated year 1906 and 1907 respectively; fiber or felt-tipped pen invented by Yukio Horie of Japan in the 1960; and the rollerball pen that was first introduced in early 1970’s.
Every now and then, ball pen had already played a very important role in the lives of everyone, at all walks of life, particularly the students and professional workers. It had also opened a lot of opportunities for business owners to establish their own manufacturing company and for innovators to create and develop various types of pen. One of the most controversial creations which had gained its popularity during its time is the ballpoint pens and we will rivet ourselves to these pens which are specifically made in the United States.
In order to completely understand what we are trying to impose to our readers, we will give you the ballpoints definition, its history, its features, the most expensive and the manufacturers or companies in the United States that are responsible for creating the said pen. Let us now start.
According to History of Pencils (2018), the ballpoint pen is a type of pen that has a ball at its point, which rotates when dragged across the writing surface and leaves behind ink that comes from the tube of the pen. The ballpoint pen was invented by a tanner named John J. Loud and it has patented in America in 1888, but, this said invention was not successful because it couldn’t be used in writing for the reason that the patent lapsed only in a short period of time. After that failed invention, inventors take charge to improve the said pen and it was first presented at Budapest International Fair in 1931.
These ballpoint pens which are made in the United States are usually made out of metals, plastics, and other chemicals. The points are made out of brass which is an alloy of copper and zinc. The brass is used because it has an appealing appearance, has the strength, resistance to corrosion and the ability to be easily formed. The point has a diameter ranging from 0.5mm to 1.2mm and is made of durable hard material. Other manufacturers use aluminum to make the pen body and stainless steel on other components. For rich people, they use golds, silver or platinum to make their pens look more attractive which will make them spend a high price.
Its ink was specially made by pen manufacturers in the United States. In order to pair up to its point, the ink must be slightly sticky, slow drying in the reservoir and free from particles. They also use materials such as lubricants in order for the ink to move smoothly, surfactants, thickeners, and preservatives. Because of all these materials, these pens had an ability to write on both paper and on fabrics and the ink will rapidly dry because it will penetrate the paper faster than any other inks used in different pens like the rollerball pen.
There are about 170 pen manufacturers throughout the United States. However, we would not discuss them one by one; rather, we would only focus on the ones that are in the Top Manufacturers of the ballpoint pen in the United States.
Parker Pen Company
It is a manufacturer specialized in making luxurious pens that were founded 130 years ago in the year 1888 by George Safford Parker in Janesville, Wisconsin, United States. They sell their products all over the world and their products include fountain pens and ballpoint pens. Their ballpoint pens come in different models namely Reflex, Facet, Executive, Esprit, Frontier, Urban, I.M., Vector, and Jotter. “Parker Jotters” is said to be the late US President John F. Kennedy’s favorite pen for signing documents and to give as a present.
Reynolds International Pen Company
Founded by Milton Reynolds, it was the first pen company to manufacture and sell ballpoint pens in the United States Market. ”Reynolds Rocket” was its milestone product selling 100,000 dollars on its first day of sale. In 1945, its demand drastically rose and was running about 30,000 pens per day. It became America’s number 1 ballpoint pen. But, after 3 years, its price dropped from 12.50 dollars to 50 cents. “Reynolds Rocket” had a tiny ball bearing at the end of its tip that only lets the ink out if pressed against the material one is writing on.
Paper Mate Company
Patrick J. Frawley, a ballpoint pen parts manufacturer, early in 1941, had built his first company and developed a revolutionary new ink that dries up instantly. The pen that carries this ink was named “The Paper Mate”. Unlike Parker, the brand is not available in every country in the world. Its base of operation is located at Oak Brook, Illinois.
This pen’s brand is used to ballpoint pens, mechanical pens, felt tip pens, and even erasers. There are also a variety of colors and shapes that a buyer can choose from as they look for the best “Paper Mate” for them. Additionally, Paper Mate introduced an environment-friendly biodegradable pen, pencils, and erasers in 2010. Though in the current time, Paper Mate is now owned by Newell Rubbermaid.
T Cross Company
This pen company was founded by Richard Cross in Providence, Rhode Island in 1846. Like Parker, this company also sells its products worldwide. Moreover, it is known to be an official supplier of pens to the White House since the 1970s. In fact, American Presidents from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump have been using this pen brand in signing the legislation. In the line of the writing instrument, Cross is well known. It started with mechanical pencils but later produce stylographic (a technological forerunner of the modern ballpoint pen). Currently, Cross offer their products in the form of ballpoint pens, fountain pens, gel pens, and mechanical pens.
Fisher Space Pen
Founded by Paul Fisher, this ballpoint pen is known to come and a refill that is unparalleled, and can write upside down, underwater, under grease and even in extreme or high temperatures. The design of this pen allows one to write perfectly well even in zero gravity, which is an extraordinary feature since other ballpoint pens rely heavily on gravity to coat the ball with ink.
This bestselling pen literally allows anyone to write anywhere in any condition. This feature was made possible because of its unique mechanism. It is composed of thixotropic ink and a pressurized cartridge. The pressure from its cartridge, paired with the mentioned special ink, allows it to function in absence of gravity. As a result, NASA purchased a lot of this pen and was used on Skylab and Apollo missions.
Ballpoint pen is indeed a brilliant invention by man’s continuous search for innovation. The invention of the ballpoint pen is said to be the “invention that changed people’s lives”. It does not only made the United States one of the most well-known manufacturing countries but it also helped in making the writing process more convenient, quicker and easier.
By the time that it was developed, students can write their lectures easily and effortlessly for there is no need for them to dip their pen in ink. Meanwhile, the significance of the ballpoint pen remained the same despite the presence of smartphones and other technologies for it was the ballpoint pen that made the idea that anyone can write anytime and anywhere. Ballpoint pens have distinguishable differences when compared to other types of pens.
However, different branded ballpoint pens have distinctions as well. It is evident at different companies in the United States manufacture their pens uniquely to avoid violation of certain rights or patents. As a result, people, especially pen lovers, could choose from a variety of pens. People with luxurious taste could choose to buy Parker Pens as this brand brings out its pens lavishly.
But if one wants a cheap but reliable pen, one could side with Reynolds Pen. Fisher Space Pens, on the other hand, are best suited for people with careless nature as this pen brand is durable enough to withstand extreme conditions. Aside from these brands, there are still a lot of other choices out there; not just in the United States, but also in other countries as well. Therefore, this pen is still as valuable as it is because it still has its capacity to capture and record someone’s emotions.
What is your favorite ballpoint pen made in the United States? Leave your thoughts below.