A ballpoint pen, also known as a biro or ball pen, is a pen that dispenses ink (usually in paste form) over a metal ball at its point, more commonly known as a “ballpoint”. This is a writing instrument that people use every day to apply ink to a surface, usually paper, for writing articles, essays, reports, novels, stories, and other important documents or drawing figures, pictures and other similar subjects.
Parts of a common ballpoint pen include a cap for covering the ballpoint tip when not in use, a grip to provide a good hold and prevent the pen from slipping from one’s hand, a clip that helps fasten the pen to a more accessible location, a barrel in which the ink chamber or cartridge is located, and the signature ballpoint tip.
Other pens do not have a cap, instead, the pen has spring mechanisms or twist mechanism to hide the pen tip when it is not in use. Others have decorations, a decorative ring, or a design that aims to capture the aesthetic eye of the buyers and users.
The points of most ballpoint pens are made out of brass, an alloy of copper and zinc. This material is used because of its strength, resistance to corrosion, appealing appearance, and ability to be easily formed. Other parts, like the ink cartridge, the body, or the spring can also be made with brass.
The History of Retractable Ballpoint Pens and Replacement Springs
The first ballpoint pen was invented in 1888 by John J. Loud, an American inventor but his design failed to reach into the market. After the failure of the design of John Jacob Loud, many innovators try to improve his design but they suffer the same faith as John J. Loud. But when the 20th century entered, László Biró a Hungarian newspaper editor together with his brother Gyorgy, started to invent a workable pen and they succeeded to invent a new design of a ballpoint pen that is quick to dry.
In 1931 at The Budapest International Fair, the Biró brothers presented to the world the first working ballpoint pen. Seven (7) years later, they filed a patent to Britain and France to continue the growth of their ballpoint pen business. Biró brothers and their friend Juan Jorge Meyne went to Argentina in 1941 to open their new factory named “Biro Pens of Argentina”. The main purpose of the factory is to produce and sell the pens to the people who are in need of the ballpoint pen. In Argentina, they called the product of Biró Pens as “Birome”.
After World War II, other designers of ballpoint pens sell their products but with limited success. In 1945, Milton Reynolds was on a business trip to Buenos Aires when he saw a ballpoint pen and when he returned to America, he redesigned it to get that American patent. The Reynolds International Pen Company manufactured the “Reynolds Rocket” which is the redesigned ballpoint pen that Reynolds saw in the ways to his business trip, and his redesigned ballpoint pen become the first commercially successful ballpoint pen during his time.
As time passes by many innovations on the ballpoint pen were made, but only a few became successful. Such innovations included the gel pen, mechanical pencil, highlighter, brush pen, colored pencil, technical pen, marker, fountain pen, the multifunctional pen, and the rollerball.
One of the famous innovations on the ballpoint pen was the ballpoint pen with springs or the retractable pen. The retractable pen was made by the Frawley Pen Company lead by Patrick J. Frawley in 1950. The retractable pen is a type of ink-pen which have a spring-loaded ink cartridge which retracts and extends outside a protective housing, the spring provides the tension that retracts the ink cartridge. Pressing the button located at the end of the pen moves the system from one place to another and brings out the pen tip and enabling the user to write with it.
Since then, the retractable pen has widely used the type of ballpoint pen in the world because it is convenient to use because just by clicking the button the ballpoint will go out from its housing and ready to use for writing.
One important part of the retractable pen or click pen is the spring that enables the machine to do its job. When one stretches or contracts a spring, kinetic energy is stored in it. When the pen is clicked, the energy stored in the spring is released, and the spring goes back to its original form. The spring’s capability to contract and then go back to its original shape contributes to the up-and-down motion of the pen tip when the top part is clicked. Without it, the retractable pen would cease to be a retractable pen as there is no force that pushes the pen tip back into the barrel of the pen.
Just as ink chambers have ink refills and/or replacements, springs also have replacements. Different types of retractable pens call for different types of springs. No two springs are suitable for one type of pen. One must take into consideration the size of the barrel hole, its width, the compression size and length of the spring, and many more variables before choosing the right spring for his pen.
A good pen is an accessory that will the story of one’s life. It will sign one’s name on some of the most important documents in his life. From wills and testaments to mortgages and bills of sales and purchases, there is no better tool than a good pen. Different tastes and preferences are the reasons different types of pens are made.
A pen that is comfortable for one person may not be preferred by another person. All that matters is how the person will use the pen and on what things that said a person will use his pen. In the end, the content by which the ink portrays, not the pen, is the one that will make the impression to the one reading it.
There you go, you have just learned the facts of retractable ballpoint pens and replacement springs.