In 1945, Marcel Bich, founder of Bic Corp., began producing fountain pens in France. Just five years later, he introduced his first ballpoint pen, the Cristal. In addition to lighters and shavers, Bic now manufactures several different types of pens: ballpoint, fountain, rollers and gel ink pens.
Ballpoint pens use a viscous ink that is actually a paste. These pens rely on gravity for the ink to coat the writing tip. Although the exact Bic ink ingredients have not been released to the public, these inks contain a combination of dyes, pigments and solvents such as ethylene glycol and propylene glycol.
Roller and Gel Pens
These pens use water-based inks that are less viscous than ballpoint ink. These inks also contain dyes, pigments and solvents.
Some of Bic’s pens, such as the Cristal, contain a hole in the barrel. This hole equalizes the pressures inside and outside of the pen so the ink does not leak. Pens without a hole in the barrel have sealed, pressurized ink systems.