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The plastic ballpoint pen is one of the most affordable – and most effective – forms of promotional marketing. Our pens start from a mere 9 pence each and are fully brandable with your company logo, contact details and slogan. 
An incredible 125 ballpoint pens are sold every second throughout the world. A good pen is able to write approximately 50,000 words and the average person gets through 4.3 pens per year. For this reason, people will always appreciate a free pen!

The Ballpoint Revolution

The first patent for a ballpoint pen was issued to John Loud, an American leather tanner, in 1888. Loud’s invention featured a reservoir of ink and a roller ball that applied the thick ink to leather hides. As it was too coarse for letter writing the pen was deemed to have no commercial viability and was never put into production.
During the next 30 years, a staggering 350 patents for ball-type pens were issued, but there was always one major problem - the ink. If it was too thin the pens leaked, and if it was too thick, they clogged. 
The breakthrough came almost 50 years later, in 1935, when Hungarian newspaper editor László Bíró, noticed that inks used in newspaper printing dried quickly, leaving the paper dry and smudge free. With the help of his chemist brother György, László, he successfully created a ballpoint pen with a controlled ink flow.
The brothers went on to establish Bíró Pens of Argentina and patented a new design which was licensed by the British. The pens were a hit, even being adopted by the RAF because they didn’t leak ink at high altitudes like fountain pens. Such was the success of Bíró pens, the name quickly became a generic term for the ballpoint. 
Another leading brand name in ballpoints is Paper Mate, which came to market in 1949. The Paper Mate pen, which featured improved smear-proof ink and a retractable ballpoint tip, was developed by Americans Patrick J. Frawley Jr. and Fran Seech. Within a few years, the Paper Mate pen was selling in the hundreds of millions.

Cheaper by The Dozen

It might seem hard to believe, but in the early days ballpoint pens were a valuable commodity, selling for the equivalent of £100! Their price rapidly declined as competition among pen manufacturers ramped up during the mid-1940s. Today you can pick up plastic pens for just pence. Ordering between 250 to 500 pens offers astounding value. 
However, if you are looking to splash out, according to the Guinness Book of Records the most expensive pen in the world is made of platinum and coated with 2,000 gems and worth nearly £1 million!

Fascinating Facts

The pen truly is mightier than the sword – most feature metal balls made from tungsten carbide, which is three times tougher than steel.
In 95% of cases, if a person is given a new pen, the first word they write is their name.

The average ballpoint can produce a line of around 2km. That means that one single pen could draw a line longer than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
The world’s biggest ballpoint pen measures 18ft long and weighs 37.23 kg. The giant writing tool was created by Indian Acharya Makunuri Srinivasa in 2011

Leighmans.com features a comprehensive range of plastic promotional pens, however we have access to far more and will work with you to find exactly the right product. Simply call our friendly sales team on 0800 169 0898 or email sales@leighmans.com