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  • Writer's pictureRitwic Singh

Efficiency, Quality and Thrifty: The Bic Cristal Ball Pen

The BIC cristal ballpoint pen is truly the absolute proof of design refinement and use in minimalism. It ranges between one to four dollars for a pack of 10 ballpoint pens. The pen, a writing instrument, in essence came into being right when humans first developed the concept of preservation, presentation and propagation of ideas. The first cave painting used naturally-obtained colors and was made using the artist’s finger. That was the first time the concept of a pen was first created.

Transitioning to a more civilized time of the 6th century where scholars were the only ones utilizing quills to write down their research, observations and inferences. Evidence shows that the early pens were made using reed. These are classified as reed or cane pens and are a predecessor to the quill. Cane pens are made of bamboo or reed cane whereas a quill was made from bird feathers, preferably geese feathers. The biggest design difference between cane pens and quills was the constant need to resharpen the cane pen tip whereas quills required infrequent sharpening and also required less effort and care when being produced.

This carried on till finally quills were replaced with fountain pens in the early 1800s. The fountain pen provided the removal of the menial and frankly annoying task of redipping the quill in the ink after every little bit of writing, often making the flow of writing arduous. This design flaw was finally overcome by the invention of the ballpoint pen in 1888 by John L. Loud. The design by Loud was a commercial failure and pushed back the technology fifty years when László Bíró finally patented the first commercially successful ballpoint pen in 1931 when he debuted it at the Budapest International Fair.

The BIC Cristal pen eventually pushed the design of the ballpoint pen to its most efficient form. It has been in production since 1950 and only received the usual upgrades in ink and ball tip technology. The pen in itself is a masterpiece and a true icon of all the core principles of design. It is simple, useful, long lasting, efficient and can endure a lot of physical harm before becoming unusable. It is the most commonly used pen in the United States and comes at a small price. The pen is a symbol of design perfection.

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