Today’s Google doodle marks the 117th birthday of Ladislao José Bíro, the man responsible for the ballpoint pen.
Working with his brother, Google says Bíro introduced the first ballpoint pen at the Budapest International Fair in 1931. Eight years later, he would receive a patent for his invention.
He worked with his brother, György Bíro, a chemist, to develop a new type of pen made up of a ball that turned in a socket. As the ball turned, it picked up ink from a cartridge and rolled to deposit it on paper, much like a newsprint roller transfers an inked image to paper.
Born into a Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary, Bíro worked as a journalist — which is where he would eventually get the idea to take the newspaper printing process and apply it to a writing tool that used a ball turning in a socket to transfer ink onto paper.
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