☆ (theidolhands) wrote in 1word1day,


Saturday Word: Biro

bi·ro [beer-ō]:
origin: [1931] Hungarian; proper name; coined @ Budapest International Fair.

There is probably something in your immediate vicinity that you may use every single day and yet have not stopped to thank László József Bíró, the Jewish Hungarian, who invented the ball point pen. Unless you live in Australia, where "Biro" is in fact the nickname for an ink pen (not a clever Hungarian), or Argentina, where László is on a celebrated list for their Inventor's Day.

Welp, things were never quite the same for the fountain pen after that, although he initially was simply trying to adapt newspaper ink for their cartridges, which he had noticed dried instantly instead of the pesky dampness of the typically wetter stuff (hence the need for an ink blotter). Although, where would many a Looney Tunes gag be without the gag of shooting fountain pens?

Still, the military preferred the lack of explosions that a ball point pen provided, as opposed to ye olde fountain pens at certain altitudes of the sky or leagues under the sea. And lets face it...once you have a contract with the military, you're pretty well made. However, Mr. Bíró sold his patent in 1945, to a Marcel Bich, an Italian with an equal interest in stationary goods -- which is why Americans are more likely to use the word "Bic" to describe the exact same item.

As a bonus note, the rise in technology, has caused a droop in sales, and that is why you may associate a "Bic" more with a razor, than a writer, as the company attempts to adjust to the changing times by expanding their product line.

Hungarian Stamp honoring László Bíró.
Tags: b, british, noun, slang, wordsmith: theidolhands

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