Why a Pen is a ‘Biro’ in the UK

Bic Biro Pens

For our American readers, a pen is usually just a pen. But those of you in the UK know that cheap ballpoints are often referred to as “biros.” If you’ve ever wondered about the reason for that, it’s this:

The first ballpoint pen, utilizing a steel ball bearing held in place by a socket, was developed in the late 19th century by a man named John Loud. Unfortunately, his invention didn’t work too well on paper and was used mainly for marking leather, according to a report from the BBC.

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