This Day in History (30-Oct-1888) – John J Loud patents ballpoint pen

This principle of the ballpoint pen dates back to an 1888 patent owned by John J. Loud for a product to mark leather. However, this patent was commercially unexploited. A Hungarian journalist named Laszlo Biro noticed that the type of ink used in newspaper printing dried quickly, leaving the paper dry and smudge-free. He decided to create a pen using the same type of ink. The thicker ink would not flow from a regular pen nib and Biro had to devise a new type of point. He did so by fitting his pen with a tiny ball bearing in its tip. As the pen moved along the paper, the ball rotated picking up ink from the ink cartridge and leaving it on the paper.

Laszlo Biro first patented his pen in 1938, and applied for a fresh patent in Argentina in 1943. The British Government bought the licensing rights to this patent for the war effort. The British Royal Air Force needed a new type of pen, one that would not leak at higher altitudes in fighter planes as the fountain pen did. Their successful performance for the Air Force brought the Biro pens into the limelight, forming Eterpen Company in Argentina.

Eversharp Co. teamed up with Eberhard-Faber in June 1945, to acquire the exclusive rights to Biro Pens of Argentina. The pen re-branded the “Eversharp CA” which stood for Capillary Action. Less than a month after Eversharp/Eberhard close the deal with Eterpen, Chicago businessman, Milton Reynolds visited Buenos Aires. While in a store, he saw the Biro pen and recognized the pen’s sales potential. He bought a few pens as samples. Reynolds returned to America and started the Reynolds International Pen Company, ignoring Eversharp’s patent rights. He copied the product in four months and sold his product Reynold’s Rocket at Gimbel’s department store in New York City, starting 29th October 1945. Priced at $12.50, $100,000 worth sold the first day on the market.

However, the Reynolds’ pen leaked, skipped and often failed to write. Eversharp’s pen did not live up to its own advertisements. The ballpoint pen fad ended by 1951. Parker Pens introduced its first ballpoint pen, the Jotter, in 1954, which wrote five times longer. It had a variety of point sizes, a rotating cartridge and large-capacity ink refills. Best of all, it worked, re-initiating ballpen era.

 

Reference:

http://www.historyorb.com/day/october/30

http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa101697.htm

This Day in History (11-Sep-1893) – Swami Vivekananda represented Hinduism at Chicago’s Parliament of the World’s Religions

In the first ever inter-faith gathering, Swami Vivekananda dramatically enlighted the Western opinion to the depth of Hindu philosophy and culture. Here are excerpts from website of ‘The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions’ –

The 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions, held on the shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago, was the largest and most spectacular event among many other congresses in the World’s Columbian Exposition. The World Congress of Religions marks the first formal gathering of representatives of Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. Today it is recognized as the birth of formal interreligious dialogue worldwide. A captivating Hindu monk, Swami Vivekananda mesmerized the 5,000 assembled delegates, greeting them with the words, “Sisters and brothers of America!” This speech, which introduced Hinduism to America is memorized by school children in India to this day. Swami Vivekanada became one of the most forceful and popular speakers in spite of the fact that he had never before addressed an audience in public. He continued, “If the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world it is this: It has proved to the world that holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character. In the face of this evidence, if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of the others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart, and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written, in spite of resistance: “Help and not Fight,” “Assimilation and not Destruction,” “Harmony and Peace and not Dissension.”

Vivekananda’s speech was received wonderfully by the parliament and Parliament President John Henry Barrows praised Vivekananda greatly and said that he had a great influence over the entire audience. Vivekananda also received massive attention in the press who called him the “cyclonic monk from India”. Newspapers like the New York Herald wrote of him saying “Vivekananda is undoubtedly the greatest figure in the Parliament of Religions. After hearing him we feel how foolish it is to send missionaries to this learned nation”.

 

Reference:

http://www.indianage.com/show.php

http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/news/index.php/category/previous-parliaments/1893-parliament-chicago/

http://www.mapsofindia.com/on-this-day/11th-september-1893-swami-vivekananda-delivers-his-first-speech-in-the-parliament-of-the-worlds-religions-in-chicago