Ballpoint pens were invented in the 1940s, although earlier efforts to design them dated back to the 1800s. By the 1950s they'd become standard technology, displacing the traditional fountain pen. Ballpoint pens dispense their ink via the rolling action of a small metal sphere or ball at the tip, rather than a nib.

At the end of World War Two, Eversharp produced one of the first commercial ballpoint pens, called the Eversharp CA for capillary action. Reynolds followed suit with a ballpoint pen called the Reynolds Rocket. These two pens were sold for the same price as high-end fountain pens, and both failed because they had problems with leaking.

Just when it seemed the prospects for ballpoint pens were dim, around 1950, Marcel Bich pioneered a very inexpensive ballpoint, the Bic Crystal. It was a self-contained disposable ballpoint pen that became the genesis of the Bic pen company.

Suddenly, every major pen company (Sheaffer, Parker, etc.) that wanted to survive had to come out with a ballpoint pen. Thereafter, ballpoints came in two varieties: inexpensive writing instruments and higher-end fashion statements and gift items (e.g. Cross and Parker ballpoints).

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Ernesto Soler's extensive homage to one of the most popular pens ever produced, the Parker "51," introduced in 1941… [read review or visit site]

Jim Mamoulides' vintage and modern pen-cyclopedia. Start at the main gallery, featuring detailed articles (with pho… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Graf Von Faber-castell Propelling Ballpoint Pen "anello Ebony" Platinum PlatedMontblanc Boheme Ball Point PenMontblanc Mechanical Pencil Mb 550 "carrera" Black/yellow, Push-knob MechanismParker T-1 Ball Point And Mechanical Pencil And Original Sales Easel (6171)Montblanc Meisterstuck Classique 164 Black Resin And Gold Plated TrimVintage Cross Pen And Pencil Set - Black With Gold TrimParker 75 Classic Ball Point Sterling Cap&barrel Gold Trim UsaMontblanc Ballpoint Pen Noblesse ObligeMontblanc Meisterstuck Classique M163 Rollerball Pen Gold TrimVintage Cross Townsend Jade Ballpoint Pen Green Gold Flakes Trim NiceVintage Cross Lapus Lazuli Ballpoint Pen Blue Gold Flakes Trim Nice TownsendVintage Cross Pens Lot (including Refills)New Montblanc Meisterstück Platinum-coated Classique Ballpoint Pen Mb Mont BlancStock Clearance! Aurora Optima Ballpoint, BlackMontblanc Marcel Proust Limited Edition Ballpoint (bp) Pen - No Reserve (nr)Caran D'ache Cda Hexagonal Gold Plated Ballpoint Pen, Near Mint Condition, RareSheaffer Imperial Sovereign Sterling Silver Diamond Pattern Ballpoint Pen 2 Vintage Papermate Double Heart Pens Stock Clearance! Aurora Optima Rollerball, BlackVintage Tiffny & Co. 925 Sterling Silver Body Ballpoint Pen UsaCross Botanica Golden Magnolia Ballpoint Pen & Stationery Gift Set New In Box Vintage Sheaffer Triumph Imperial Fountain Pen 14k Nib.Cross Chrome Pen And Pencil Set - 3501 With Original BoxCartier Paris Vendome Trinity Oval Gold Silver Plated Ballpoint Pen ExcellentMontblanc Meisterstruck No.161 Black And Gold Ballpoint Pen With CaseGucci Sterling Silver (ag925) Faux Wood Ballpoint Pen, Excellent ConditionMontblanc Generation Ballpoint Pen Golden Trim GermanyTiffany & Co. Purse Pen - Sterling Silver Diamond Textured Blue Lacquer Germany14 Kt Gold Filled Cross Pen/pencil SetCross Pen Pencil Set 14k Gold Filled New In Original Box W/papersCross Pen & Pencil Set 14k Gold FilledTiffany Silver PenVintage Cross 12 Kt Gold Filled - Pen & Pencil Set In Box #6601 ~cm432Cross Black Matte Ball Point Pen 2502 Blue Ink Vintage Red & Chrome Papermate Paper Mate Usa Ballpoint Ball Point PenVintage Parker Sonnet Ballpoint Pen Cisele Silver W/gold Trim, FranceVisconti Michelangelo Imperial Green Swirl & Bronze Trim Ballpoint Pen $240 MsrpS T Dupont Ball Point Pen Gold Color Metal Twist Mechanism 5.25 Paris FranceLot Of 6 Cross Ballpoint Pens 10k Gf 2 Are 1/20 12k 1 Century 2 Chrome Parts Or14k Gold Filled Vintage Cross Pen Original Box Papers A Gift No EngravingLevenger True Writer Kyoto Ballpoint Pen--excellent ConditionVintage Cross PenVisconti Ballpoint Divina Brown Oversize - 26571Montblanc Meisterstuck 0.7mm Mechanical Pencil 165 Germany Black / Gold W CaseVintage Retro 1951 Tornado Ballpoint Pen Mosaic Montblanc Meisterstuck Classique Black Gold Silver Ballpoint Pen GermanyVintage Fend 4 Colors Ballpoint Pen - Solid Silver -near MintAuthentic Vintage Montblanc164 Meisterstuck Black / Gold Trim Ballpoint Pen BpVintage Cross Ballpoint Pens - Three - Mint ConditionRotring Quatro PenWaterman Carene Coral Orange Twist Action Ballpoint Pen Gold Trim FranceVisconti Michelangelo Imperial Brown Swirl & Bronze Trim Ballpoint Pen $240 Msrp Rotring Black Rapid Pro Ballpoint Pen Hexagon Metal Knurled Grip New *Montblanc Meisterstuck Classic Gold & Black Ballpoint Pen For Parts Or Repair Vintage Montblanc Turbo Ball Point PenCros Selectip Pen Rolling Ball Gray Matte 2105 New No Refills1975 Cross 14kt Gold Filled Mechanical Pen Pencil Set W/case & DocumentsGucci PenLevenger True Writer Translucent Orange Ballpoint Pen--excellent ConditionCross Pen Gray