Paperstone – Office life, work and fun

Exactly who was Mr Biro?

By Paperstone on April 8, 2016 in Pens & Pencils


The trade name “Biro” is forever etched in the memory of officer workers everywhere in the Western world.

But exactly who was Mr Biro?

Laszlo Biro was the son of a Jewish dentist born in Budapest in 1899, and his career began in the army as a trainee officer during World War I.

After the war ended, Biro followed in the footsteps of his elder brother and studied medicine, but he got side-tracked working as a hypnotist. He discovered that hypnotism was a great money-spinner and couldn’t be bothered to finish his medical training.

But his highly active entrepreneurial mind soon got bored with hypnotism too, and he began a whole series of career moves, becoming an insurance salesman next and then a book publisher.

He worked for a company selling oil and then managed to invent an automatic gearbox with a friend.

The pair signed a contract with General Motors to carry on their research, although the design didn’t result in an end product.

While working for General Motors, Biro also worked as a weekly newspaper reporter to help bring in extra cash, and at the same time began working with his brother on developing a ballpoint pen.

It took more than a decade to perfect the prototype, but finally the Biro pen was launched in the UK in 1945 by the Miles-Martin Pen Company, and the rest, as they say, is history.

A staggering 100 billion biros have been sold since 1950 – and even today, with a much greater choice of pens available to the consumer, 57 Bic Biros are purchased every second!


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Comments are closed.