Iconic: The Bic Ballpoint Pen

With its ballpoint and its timeless design, the Bic pen was a technological revolution. Functional and cheap, this disposable pen produced since 1950 in Clichy is also a symbol of consumer society. At the rate of three Bic pens sold every second, it’s the most popular ballpoint pen in the world.

Ever since the invention of the ball­point pen in 1888 by John J. Loud, an American from Massachusetts, the instrument had difficulty finding a public in France, where traditionally a fountain pen was used for handwriting. It took until the end of the 40s and the refinement by a Frenchman − Marcel Bich, director of a company making spare parts for writing equipment in Clichy – to elevate it to the status of cult object.

Legend tells us that a flash of genius struck Marce [...]

Subscribers Only

To be able to access this article,
log in or subscribe to France-Amérique.


  • Iconic: The Peugeot BicycleIconic: The Peugeot Bicycle The French brand Peugeot is also a figure in the cycling world. Founded in 1882, the subsidiary Cycles Peugeot offered three models: the Grand-Bi was rather unwieldy penny-farthing, with […] Posted in Culture, Lifestyle
  • Objet culte : la Lampe BergerObjet culte : la Lampe Berger Icônes sur le tard ou classiques instantanés, certains objets de manufacture française ont marqué l’inconscient collectif français. Le magazine France-Amérique rend hommage à l’un d’eux […] Posted in Culture, Lifestyle