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The Ultimate Ballpoint Pen Quiz
by Staff
Most of us take them for granted, but BIC makes millions of them every single day. If you haven't guessed, we're talking about the humble ballpoint pen. What do you know about this instrument, besides the fact that it writes under your command?

What usually happens when you try to write with a fountain pen on an airplane?

  • It skips.
  • It floods.
  • Writing is blurry.

What's the most common problem with capillary action pens?

  • uneven ink flow
  • ink that was slow to dry
  • both the above

What's the secret of a ballpoint pen giving good writing quality?

  • The pen has a small rotating ball that disperses the ink sticking to it as you write.
  • The ball acts as a valve rapidly opening and closing ink flow as you apply differential pressure.
  • The ball is spring loaded to stop ink flow when you ease pressure and opens the flow when you press down.

How many different metals are used to manufacture the balls for ballpoint pens?

  • four
  • three
  • two

Where did the inventor of the first ballpoint pen get the idea to use fast drying ink in his pens?

  • He visited a book printing and binding company and watched its operation.
  • He mixed some ink incorrectly one day and noticed that it dried quickly and virtually smudge free.
  • He visited a newspaper and observed that ink left the paper dry and free of smudges almost instantly.

In what year did Laszlo Biro and his brother Georg take out a patent for a new ballpoint pen?

  • 1905
  • 1943
  • 1953

What event really brought Biro pens into the limelight as a better alternative to existing pens?

  • Successful writing performance of the Biro pen even underwater.
  • The queen of England adopted the Biro pen as the official writing instrument of Buckingham Palace.
  • Successful performance of the Biro pen when it was used by the Royal Air Force at high altitudes.

Who introduced the first commercially produced ballpoint pen to America?

  • Milton Reynolds
  • Lawanda Page
  • Jack Warden

How many pens did Reynolds sell when his ballpoint was first introduced?

  • about 10,000
  • about 7,000
  • about 5,500

What was the going price for the original Reynolds ballpoint pens?

  • $5
  • $10
  • $15

In what year did Frenchman Marcel Bich first introduce an inexpensive ballpoint pen to Europe?

  • 1905
  • 1949
  • 1955

In what year did BIC introduce its pens to America?

  • 1905
  • 1953
  • 1959

What was the price of a BIC pen in 1949?

  • 29 cents
  • 75 cents
  • 97 cents

What's behind the technology that allows ink in a ballpoint to pass the ball and onto paper?

  • The ink is under pressure inside the plastic tube holding the ink.
  • The friction of the paper spins the ball past the ink, warming it slightly and carrying some ink to the paper.
  • As the ball turns, gravity forces the ink down the reservoir and onto the ball where it is transferred to the paper.

What other job does the ball have to perform in a modern ballpoint pen?

  • The ball also allows air bubbles to escape from ink in the pen when you are not using it.
  • The ball acts as a valve to seal the ink in the pen when it is not in use.
  • The ball allows small amounts of moisture into the ink cartridge to prevent drying out.

How is the size of a ballpoint's ink line determined?

  • Line size is determined by the circumference of the ballpoint.
  • Line size is determined by the diameter of the ballpoint.
  • Line size is determined by the width of the ballpoint.

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, when was the first use of ink in writing?

  • 1500 B.C.
  • 2000 B.C.
  • 2500 B.C.

What is the basis of modern blue and black inks that we use today?

  • soluble iron salt and tannin
  • alizarin and indigo
  • lampblack and soluble gums

How many things do modern quick-drying inks contain?

  • seven
  • five
  • three

How do plant-based ink vehicles dry once they are applied to a surface?

  • evaporation
  • penetration and oxidation
  • both of the above