History of the World: The Demise of Fountain Pens

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Of course, there was still room for improvement - in 1949, a couple of guys invented a pent with no-smear ink and a retractable tip. THey called it the Papermate. Then, in 1952, Marcel Bich came up with a smooth-writing pen in a plastic barrel and named it after himself, although he dropped the "H" and called it the Bic.

But, in lots of countries, ballpoint pens are still called biros, and in Argentina, Lazlo's September 29 birthday is celebrated as Inventors' Day.

It's the greatest deal in the history of history books! Our first hardback, The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through History's Best Bits, hits stores later this month, and we're so excited that we've teamed up with the fine folks at Amazon.com to give you a special deal. Pre-order the book before October 27th and we'll throw in 6 FREE MONTHS of mental_floss magazine! Just click here to get the deal now. For more about the book, check out our FAQ.