Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How About That? Trivia

The first great success for the ballpoint pen came on an October morning in 1945 when a crowd of over 5,000 people jammed the entrance of New York’s Gimbels Department Store. The day before, Gimbels had taken out a full-page ad in the New York Times promoting the first sale of ballpoints in the United States. The ad described the new pen as a "fantastic... miraculous fountain pen ... guaranteed to write for two years without refilling!" On that first day of sales, Gimbels sold out its entire stock of 10,000 pens-at $12.50 each!

Cross Ballpoint Pen

Actually, this "new" pen wasn't new at all and didn't work much better than ballpoint pens that had been produced ten years earlier. The story begins in 1888 when John Loud, an American leather tanner, patented a roller-ball-tip marking pen. Loud’s invention featured a reservoir of ink and a roller ball that applied the thick ink to leather hides. John Loud’s pen was never produced, nor were any of the other 350 patents for ball-type pens issued over the next thirty years. The major problem was the ink - if the ink was thin the pens leaked, and if it was too thick, they clogged. Depending on the temperature, the pen would sometimes do both.

Longer story HERE.


David Dust said...

Cross pens always make me remember my first NYC job - working at Macy's during Christmas. The Cross Pen Queen always stood near my department, yelling out the virtues of Cross Pens...

"Makes a GREAT GIFT!"

"Show them you care with a CROSS PEN!"