Douglas Rodger knows something, Friday, September 9, 2005, about the date ballpoint pens came into general use
Ballpoint pens and Anne Frank
I came across the discussion re. the Anne Frank diary and the date when ballpoint pens might have been available, and remembered coming across references to Biros in George Orwell's correspondence (in The Complete Works of George Orwell).
The first mention comes in February 1946, when Orwell wrote to David Low the London booksellers ordering a Biro. They replied that they did not have one in stock, but would supply one when they did.
However, in a letter to a friend dated March 15, 1946, Orwell states 'I have at last got one of those pens that don't have any ink in them' - which I think must be a Biro - and his next reference to Biros comes in a letter dated the 12th of December 1947, when he is asking a friend to purchase a Biro for him, stating that his has run out and is being refilled, and that he expects the price of the pen to be about £3.
I realise that the discussion dates from several years ago, and thus may be of little interest now, but thought that I would pass this on.
Alasdair Spark contributes his two ha'porth on Anne Frank's controversial use of ballpoint pens in writing her diary | a reader looks at Anne's curiously varied handwriting
David Irving replies:
I have received several letters over the last two years about the date that ballpoint pens (invented by the Hungarian, Biro) first came into general use. A very few were used in 1944 (Sir William Stephenson wrote at least one letter late that year to Lord Beaverbrook in ballpoint pen; it is in the Beaverbrook Papers). Anne Frank would not however have had access to one before she died of typhus in 1945.