Penchant for Pens: Things You Might Not Know About This Classic Writing Instrument

Penchant for Pens - Things You Might Not Know About This Classic Writing InstrumentSince time immemorial, people have been finding ways to write. As long ago as 3,000 BC, the ancient Egyptians used reed straws with a split nib to write on papyrus. Reed pens, quill, and dip pens all go down in history as a writing implement. Today, pens remain to be a quintessential instrument, whether it’s a ballpoint pent, a fountain pen, or a rollerball pen. We have evidently evolved from the messy quills and ink.

A pen may not be something that everybody uses everybody, but it’s definitely something that each one of us uses, despite the presence of tablets, smart phones, and whatnots. But how well do you know about this modern day writing instrument? Here are some fascinating facts that will make you see pens in a new light.

Origin of Ballpoint Pens

Ballpoints were originally designed for the Royal Air Force of Great Britain because fountain pens flowed in jets from the reduction of atmospheric pressure. Handles cannot write in space and in a state of weightlessness. In October 1888, John J. Loud earned the first ballpoint pen patent. The pen was used for marking leather, but was too rough to use on paper.

Throughout the years, many revisions and remakes were done by different inventors in an effort to find a ball that was loose enough to allow ink to flow yet tight enough not slip into the ink tube. In 1938, Laszlo Biro, a Hungarian newspaper editor, filed the patent for the first successful pen. The ink that was used was a version of newsprint ink that dried quickly. It fitted the ballpoint pen with a tiny ball that would turn in its socket.

Random Quirky Trivia

It might not be the most common of accidents, but did you know that globally, over 100 people die each year from choking on plastic pen caps? So you might want to rethink about that habit of chewing your pen while thinking of what to write next.  Another interesting trivia about pens is that it takes 22 ballpoints to run a marathon. The average Bic Cristal ballpoint can produce a line of around 2km. So therefore, a single pen can cover the height of the Empire State Building not just once, but four times! Finally, it is said that in 95% of case, if a person were given a pen, the first word that he would write using it would be his name.

Most Expensive in the World

Pens can also be attributed to lavish lifestyle as luxury pens are emerging the past years. Actor Robert Patterson famously bought his then-girlfriend and pen collector Kirsten Stewart a $46,000 limited edition Tibaldi Bentley Crewe fountain pen, which has a two-tone 18-carat yellow gold nib covered in rhodium and ruthenium. Tibaldi Fountain Pens, Montergrappa Fountain Pens, and Mont Blanc are just few of the brands known for outrageously expensive pens adorned with precious stones.

Montergrappa for instance launched “The Dragon 2010 Bruce Lee” limited edition series that range from $4,675 to $102,200 with the ultra-rare, three-piece set retailing at $290,550. For a jaw-dropping price of $730,000, one can avail of the Mont Blanc and Van Cleef & Arpels Limited Edition Mystery Masterpiece, which commemorates the renowned brands collaboration. There is also of course the $1,470,600 Aurora Diamante, the most expensive writing instrument to dateOnly one piece is sold each year. It contains over 30 carats of De Beers diamonds on a solid platinum barrel. It has a two-tone, rhodium-treated, 18KT solid gold nib and is personalized with a coat of arms, signature or portrait.

Celebrities and their Pens

Kirsten Stewart is not the only self-confessed pen collector. A lot of us enjoy splurging for our pen collection or for a loved one’s. Whether it’s a personalized pen from National Pen or a fancy Parker from the bookshop, pens always have a way to delight its enthusiasts. Interestingly, some of the most famous events in history were created, told, and written through some famous person’s penchant for pens. Anne Frank’s famed diary was apparently written with a Montblanc Fountain Pen. She loved the pen so much that she even wrote and ode when it was accidentaly thrown into the fireplace!

Albert Einstein used both a Pelikan 100 N and a Waterman Taper-cap Fountain Pen when he was developing the Theory of Relativity. Today, the Waterman pen is on display at the Boerhaave Museum in Leiden. Meanwhile, a Parker 51 is Her Majesty’s personal choice since 1959. Both The Queen and The Prince of Wales have given Royal Warrants to Parker.

Amanda Smith
A blogger based in San Diego, California, Amanda Smith has a penchant for writing about technology and gadgets, travel and arts, health and wellness, and just about anything that tickles her fancy. When she’s not writing, she’s busy catching up on her favorite sitcoms with her yellow Labrador, Chandler Tribbiani.


  1. Sandy says:

    Fabulous handmade pens at Write Turnz:

  2. Amanda Smith says:

    Erratum: Robert Pattinson :)