Saturday, February 24Not Your Ordinary English-Tagalog Dictionary
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What is Ballpoint Pen (Ballpen) in Tagalog? History and Popular Brands

The ballpoint pen in Tagalog is called “bolpen,” which means that it has no exact Filipino translation. The term “ballpen” is used in the Philippines instead of ballpoint pen. Unlike pencils, ballpens are more commonly used in writing than in drawing. Despite our digital age, ballpens are still a popular writing tool worldwide, including in the Philippines. 

ballpoint pen in Tagalog
Ballpens in the Philippines

The invention of the ballpoint pen has proven to be a great alternative to fountain pens. John J. Loud, an American lawyer, patented a device for marking leather using a rolling ball. The patent was awarded on October 30, 1888, but his design didn’t gain much attention.  Loud’s ballpoint pens can be used to write on rough surfaces but not on smooth paper. 

The modern ballpen as we know it today was invented by Laszlo Biro, an Argentine-Hungarian journalist in the early 20th century. At that time, Biro got frustrated as he needed to fill up ink in his fountain pens from time to time. He also noticed that ink was too slow to dry and had smudges on the paper, unlike the ink used in newspapers. 

Laszlo and his chemist brother, Gyorgy Biro, decided to develop a pen design that used a tiny ball bearing in the tip and used newspaper ink. As the ball rotated, it picked up ink from a reservoir and transferred it onto the paper, providing a smooth and consistent writing experience. The Biro brothers patented their invention in 1938. 

When World War II ended, various ballpoint pen companies in different countries were established, improving upon the original design. This includes the Reynolds International Pen Company owned by Milton Reynolds, the first ballpen manufacturer in the US. Reynolds ballpens have a tiny ball bearing instead of a point but are quite expensive. 

So, in 1945, Italian-born French manufacturer Marcel Bich and his friend Edouard Buffard purchased a bankrupt pen parts factory in France. Bich bought the patent for the ballpoint pen from Laszlo Biro and introduced BIC Cristal, a cheaper ballpen with a clear barrel and a reliable tungsten carbide ball. Bic ballpen is still the most popular ballpoint pen in the world today.

Use ballpen in a sentence.

Tagalog

Nakalimutan ko sa bahay yung bolpen ko. Pwede ba ako makahiram? 

English

I forgot my ballpen at home. Can I borrow one? 

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