Laszlo Biro

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Laszlo Biro
László Bíró
Bíró, c. 1978
Birthday/Birthplace László József Schweiger
(1899-09-29)29 September 1899
Budapest, Austria-Hungary
Deceased 24 October 1985(1985-10-24)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Citizenship Hungarian
Other names Ladislas Jozsef Biro
Ladislao José Biro
Citizenship Hungarian, Argentine
Credit for Inventor of the ballpoint pen
Wife/Husband Elsa Schick
Kid(s) Mariana Bíró

László József Bíró , known in Spanish-speaking countries as Ladislao José Biro (Budapest, Kingdom of Hungary, September 29, 1899 – Buenos Aires, Argentina, October 24 of 1985), was an inventor and journalist Hungarian nationalized Argentine, who made a total of 32 inventions, including the pen, which gave him international fame.

Laszlo Biro’s Biography

Commercial propaganda in the Argentine magazine Leoplan, of 1945, promoting the first birome.

When Ladislao had the idea to create the pen, he had already invented a model of fountain pen, a machine to wash clothes, an automatic system of changes in cars and an electromagnetic vehicle. Being a journalist, he was upset by the upheavals caused by his fountain pen (which was for right-handers, and he was left-handed) [citation & nbsp; required]; when it was stuck in the middle of a story. Then, along with his brother Georg, who was a chemist, he obtained an ink that was very useful for handwriting, but could not be used with the pen because it was locked when writing. But Ladislao got the idea of ​​how to solve this last problem by observing some children while playing in the street with little balls that crossed a puddle and traced a line of water on the dry floor: there he realized that instead of using a pen metal on the tip,had to use a small ball. The difficulty of transferring this mechanism to a writing instrument was the inability to develop spheres of a sufficiently small size. Ladislao Biro patented a prototype in Hungary and France, in 1938, but did not market it, that same year, Agustín Pedro Justo, who a few months before had ceased to be President of the Argentine Nation, invited him to settle in his country when he happened to meet him at a time when Biro was in Yugoslavia, making notes for a Hungarian newspaper. Agustín Justo saw him writing with a prototype of the pen and amazed by that way of writing he began to chat with him. Biro told him about the difficulty of getting a visa and Justo, who had not told him who he was, gave him a card with his name.

Biro did not decide at that time to go to Argentina, but in May 1940, at the beginning of World War II, he and his brother emigrated to Argentina together with Juan Jorge Meyne, his partner and friend who helped him to escape from the Nazi persecution for his Jewish origin, and later his wife Elsa and his daughter Mariana would also disembark in Buenos Aires (he was a neighbor of the Colegiales neighborhood, his house was in the so-called “English neighborhood”, bordering the neighborhood of Belgrano and today houses an institution dedicated to inventors).

In that same year they formed the company Biro Meyne Biro and in a garage with 40 workers and a low budget perfected his invention, realizing on June 10, 1943 a new patent in Buenos Aires. They launched the new product to the market under the commercial name of Birome (Acronym formed by the initial syllables of Biro and Me yne). Its sale to the public was between 80 and 100 dollars, an excessive cost for that time.In the beginning, the booksellers considered that these “little ink cards” were too cheap to be sold as a work tool and sold as toys for children. In this regard, in his last interview before passing away, Biro said: “My” toy “left 36 million dollars in the Argentine treasury, money that the country earned selling products not of the land but of the brain”.

When it began to be promoted, it was called spherographic and it was emphasized that it was always loaded, it dried up on the spot, it allowed to make copies with carbon paper, it was unique for aviation and its ink was indelible.

In 1943 he licensed his invention to Eversharp Faber, of the United States, at the then extraordinary sum of USD 2,000,000, and in 1951 to Marcel Bich, founder of the Bic de France company.

This is how the biromes manufactured by the Biro and Meyne brothers were.

Writing a modern ballpoint pen.

The company formed by Biro and its partners went bankrupt, suffering from lack of financing and new inventions that did not have commercial success. A former supplier, Francisco Barcelloni, tried to enthuse Biro to make a low-cost pen. He failed to convince him and settled on his own; improved the ink flow and tested a triple hardness ball. Subsequently, Barcelloni hired Biro to manage the new factory.

More Facts about Laszlo Biro

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