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What two items of technology, in terms of communication, can be found in most homes and workplaces? Although from their introduction in the UK, the items are 39 years apart, they have been designed, withstood the test of time and have changed our means of communication forever. You might want to put pen to paper or phone a friend for the answer…
The first Biro ballpoint pen went on sale in the UK on the 22nd November 1946
In 1931 László Biró, a Hungarian-Argentinian inventor, patented the first ballpoint pen which was commercially successful. It was whilst employed as a journalist that he began working on the idea of a new type of pen. As an editor with little time on his hands he grew frustrated by the amount of time he wasted topping up fountain pens and cleaning the smudges they left behind. It was his knowledge of the quick-drying ink used in newspaper print that gave him the idea…
Roll forward to 1938 when the ball pen was patented in Paris, and then to 1946 when it was first introduced to the UK market. The Biro sparked interest during World War II as the RAF discovered that unlike its predecessor, the fountain pen, the roller-ball pen still worked at high altitude and didn’t leak when there was a change in pressure. 30,000 of the pens were ordered for use by the crew.
They say an average pen can write about 45,000 words and draw a line approximately two kilometres long – more than six times the height of the Eiffel Tower!
In 1985 the first ever mobile phone call was made in the UK
Consumers were slow to take to the idea of using a portable phone whilst out and about and according to the first mobile network in the UK, Vodaphone, ‘it took almost nine years to rack up its first million customers but only eighteen months to get the second million.’ Research suggests that an estimated 87% of UK adults now own a smartphone!
When several connected social media sites went down for over six hours last month some were at a loss whilst others were delighted not to have constant pinging on their phone. Either way there is no denying that this device (which was once the size and weight of a brick!) instantly brings the world much closer together and has transformed how we communicate with each other.
This month sees the launch of the Mobile Phone Museum, in celebration of this much-loved possession. Initially an online museum, with pop-up venues to be announced, it boasts to have the world’s most extensive collection of mobile phones. According to the website it has been set up ‘To capture, preserve and share the stories behind some of the most iconic and impactful products of the last century’. They have a Most Wanted list of mobile phones, so you may want to delve deep into your drawers, check in the loft and behind the sofa just in case you’ve got a classic waiting to go on display!
Another thing that both the pen and the mobile phone have in common is that they are two items that people lose the most!