Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Twentieth Century Invention

Rejection, rebuke, acceptance and ultimately a part of our daily lives. This 20th century invention’s life-cycle was like most of its other counterparts. The puritans couldn’t stand the fact that the good old squirting marvel was being substituted by this machine with balls (all sorts of pun intended). Students were punished in the severest manner possible if they advocated its use, government officials did their best to make the law abiding citizen’s life miserable if these subjects of the state used this blasphemous tool. Yes we are indeed talking about the ubiquitous ball point pen.

Waterman invented the fountain pen and contributed more to literacy then even Guttenburg had managed a few centuries before him. Mankind was thus provided the easy way of recording their pearls of wisdom and other utterances forever, well almost. But then there were leaking nibs, inked fingertips, smudged manuscripts and a few other obstacles yet to be removed. Along came the ball point pen, its inventor conveniently pushed into the back room of obscurity, and made life so much simpler. Perhaps the most under rated of all inventions was this ball point pen.

Many countries had parliamentary debates about the authenticity of documents written using these contraptions. Well, some parliaments have all the time in the world. Finally it became the rebel in us rose, and thanks to a worldwide mutiny, the ball point pen took pride of place in our pen stands and those fountain pens found a new place in the antique cupboards and gift boxes which were not meant to be opened in the first place. It was a historic moment when the Rolls Royce of pens, Parker Co. Ltd. rolled out ( do I need to point out the puncs everytime?) the first batch of these pens. The rest as they say is history. Writing became a totally different ball game after that and we, the present generation users of it, are having a ball of a time.

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