‘Click-Click’: How A Retractable Ballpoint Pen Works?

In 1943 the Hungarian journalist László Biro patented the ballpoint pen. It was a real revolution, because, before it, there was no pen. In Egypt, people used reed twigs, in Greece, a metal stylus, in Rome, the quill. 

How Ball Point Pen Work_

The inventor of the ballpoint pen, also known as a biro. Laszlo Birò, who invented the ballpoint pen for writing on paper, which releases ink from an internal reservoir through the rolling action of a metal ball in direct contact with the paper.

The ball, which varies in diameter. It is usually constructed of steel, brass, or tungsten carbide.

How does the click-clack of the retractable ballpoint pen work?

Alright, the EngineerGuy, Bill Hammack describes it wonderfully on his YouTube channel. Specifically, the video we present today was recorded in the United States in 1965. It shows the operation of a Parker Jotter Pen and reveals the three key elements of the ballpoint pen structure.

Click-Click,  these two sounds that you hear while pushing the top button on a retractable ballpoint pen are a clue to get the essential mechanism. Such as a rotation, extension, and a locking feature of the spring-arranged ink refill. When we press the ballpoint tip, the two-clicks arise, and when we push the button again, it rotates and retracts the tip with the same two-clicks sound!. See how it goes…

Watch, How a Retractable Ballpoint Pen Works?

The Engineer Guy is right, whose presentation text in the video How a Retractable Ballpoint Pen Works is: “The ballpoint pen is apparently simple: you press the button and you can write, you push the button again and you put it in your pocket. Instead, inside a refined mechanism transforms that gesture into a complex series of movements “.

Fun Facts

  • Engineer Guy says that the pen project shown in the video is the result of the joint work of 66 engineers.
  • The mechanism was first placed in a Parker Jotter in 1954 and has sold over 750 million copies in this configuration alone.

When Was The Ballpoint Pen Invented?

In the 1900s the ballpoint pen formed. Actually, it was the 1930s when it all began and the Hungarian inventor László Birò was a young Hungarian journalist, passionate for invention. He received some help from his brother George Biro, who was a chemist. The ballpoint pen was patented in two versions, in 1938 and 1940, with the name of the ballpoint pen, precisely from these two inventors.

The principle is simple: it distributes the ink on the paper thanks to a small metal ball that rolls on itself. Being able to write for long periods without being refilled, it began to replace the more laborious fountain pens.

Due to the high production costs, Bíró was forced to sell the patent (very cheaply) to the Frenchman Marcel Bich, who cut costs by 90% and made it a commercial success. However, the Second World War held back its spread, which resumed – this time unstoppable – in the 1950s.

How Ballpoint Pens Are Made?

Friends, to produce a ballpoint pen, four main industrial divisions are required: mining, chemical, petrochemical, and metallurgical. Let’s see why.

  • First: The ball is made of stainless steel or tungsten carbide, which is composed of carbon and tungsten.
  • Second: The tip is made of brass, copper alloy. It is made from a thin bar cut into small pieces, shaped with the lathe, and perforated to accommodate the ball and let the ink flow.
  • Third: The ink is made of glycol, a solvent, in which pigments or dyes are dissolved: Prussian blue, fuchsin, or crocein (for the reds).
  • Fourth: The refill-tube, the body, and the cap. The tube is made of polypropylene or polyethene, plastic materials based on ethylene, which is obtained from oil or natural gas.

The body is made of polystyrene, which is also a plastic material derived from petroleum by-products. It is made by injecting molding technique; the molten substance into a form where, as it cools, it solidifies.

(Learn  more about How Does Plastic Injection Molding Work)

The Caps are produced with the same system as the body.

The EngineerGuy: Bill Hammack

Bill Hammack, an engineer plus a professor of engineering at the University of Illinois. He explains everything; for example, how a wind-up Music Box works, how home air conditioning triumphed over the open-air movement, etc.

Bill has a great mind to see the world differently! He explains real-life mechanisms and principles of engineering from electrical to chemical by using logical reasoning. You may find these delighting videos on his YouTube channel named EngineerGuy

Pocket Ballpoint Pens: A Best Idea To Give As Gifts

The best ballpoint pen has developed over time. Today we find all kinds of ballpoint pens with the most diverse design and colors.

In addition to the parker ballpoint pen, the ballpoint pen refill, and parker ballpoint pen has also developed very well in the pocket pen business. They can be found in various materials: plastic or aluminium and for the design and colors you can indulge yourself, indeed!

The pocket pens are a little smaller than the ballpoint pen we know and are very well adapted to the shirt pocket. They have a cap that protects the shirt from any ink spillage. They are especially perfect for those who still carry a small notebook on which to write down things to remember. Today we mainly use the mobile phone to take notes. Nevertheless, there are people who still live with old-fashioned ways that are respectable.

The pocket pens are an original idea, and you can also think of giving them as a gift together with a ballpoint pen refill, together with the pocket pen holder. On color, design, and taste you can orient yourself according to the style of the person to whom you intend to give everything.

Indeed, it is a charming surprise that can please you a lot, especially for those who still give themselves to writing and taking notes on their mobile phones they don’t want to know. 

We hope you have found the answer you were looking for. Thank you for visiting us. Wishing a great day! Keep wandering…

You might be interested to see Plastic Injection Molding Video article.


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