STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nib of a ballpoint pen, coloured scanning electron micrograph. Ballpoint pens have an internal chamber filled with a viscous ink that is dispensed at the tip during use by the rolling action of a small metal sphere (grey). The ballpoint pen was invented in 1938 by Hungarian journalist Laszlo Biro (1899-1985) and was quickly adopted by the British Royal Air Force to solve the problems of writing at high altitudes. In 1953 Marcel Bich (1914-1994), developed a process for producing ballpoint pens at low cost, making the pens an everyday item. Magnification: x15 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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