Pen (ballpoint)

Société Bic

Established 1945

Founded in 1945 by Baron Marcel Bich and Edouard Buffard, Société Bic is a company based in Clichy and is best known for making ballpoint pens. Their vision was to create something simple, yet reliable, which eases something we all do, that everyone can use. The Bic Cristal was the company’s first product, an inexpensive disposable ballpoint pen.

During the war Bich had seen a pen manufactured in Argentina by László Bíró, the inventor of this first commercially viable ballpoint pen. In many countries, including the UK, Ireland, Australia and Italy, a ballpoint pen is still widely referred to as a ‘Biro’. In 1945, Marcel Bich bought the patent and, throughout the 1950s and 1960s, changed the worldwide market for pens from fountain pens to mostly ballpoints. In 1959 Bich brought the pen to the American market and in 1965 the French ministry of education allowed the use of ballpoint pens in classrooms. The Bic Cristal is, by far, the best selling pen in the world. Also, its industrial design has been acknowledged by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as part of the museum’s permanent collection.

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© Société Bic, Clichy, France

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