Marketplace has a new podcast for kids, "Million Bazillion!" EPISODE OUT NOW
Learning Curve

1940: Ballpoint Pen.

Marketplace Contributor May 14, 2014

They’re everywhere now, but it  took years for the ballpoint to make it into the mainstream. Getting the ink right was difficult. It was always too thick or too thin. And if you weren’t holding the pen point-down, the ink wouldn’t flow at all.

Plus, the early pens cost more than $10 each. Then along came Bic, with a pen that worked and cost only 29 cents. Its 1959 ad campaign headlined “Writes First Time Every Time!”  pushed pens into the mainstream. The price soon dropped to 10 cents, and it was good-bye for good to the fountain pen in schools.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.