A ballpoint pen tip
Image credit: By Samsara at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On June 10, 1043, brothers László and György Bíró filed a patent application for a “writing instrument” that was later to become known as the ballpoint pen. (The patent, number 2,390,636, was issued on December 11, 1945.) Thanks to this fine piece of engineering, we no longer have to deal with the leaks, splotches, and general messiness of fountain pens (although they’re still great for certain tasks, such as calligraphy). Ballpoint pens come in every imaginable shape, size, color, and width. Whether you like the smooth, silky feel of a rollerball; the reliable, smudge-resistant lines of a cheap Bic; or special ink formulas (see Space Pens and FriXion Erasable Pens) there’s a ballpoint pen just for you.