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Laszlo Biro
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    (September 29, 1899-October 24, 1985)
    Born in Budapest, Hungary
    Birth name was Laszlo Jozsef Schweiger
    Patented the first commercially successful ballpoint pen (1938)
    Sold the patent to Marcel Bich (1945), who sold the pens under the name ‘BIC’
    In a less-than-conventional career path, he started as a hypnotist, worked in the oil industry, raced autos, then became a newspaper journalist and editor.
    A ballpoint pen had been invented 50 years earlier by John Loud, but it produced lines to rough and uneven for widespread use. (It saw limited use in making marks on leather, which fountain pens were unable to do.)
    He made less money off his invention than Bich did.
    He was inspired to invent a new pen after noticing how much faster newspaper ink dried compared the ink used in fountain pens.
    He fled Hungary for Argentina due to growing anti-Semitism (1941).
    One of his first large orders came from the Royal Air Force during World War II since ballpoint pens, unlike fountain pens, did not leak at high altitudes.
    His birthday is celebrated as Inventors Day in Argentina.
    ’Biro’ is used as a synonym for a ballpoint pen in many countries, including Great Britain and Italy.
    An estimated 15 million ballpoint pens sell each day worldwide.

Credit: C. Fishel

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