Doing the Hard Stuff
As discovery exists, invention follows. And as invention follows, development proceeds. There is no way to control everything that happens to exist as human mind continually explores. Indeed, it is not quite surprising why everything we inevitably sense brings forth quests and moves some people to probe and create something that is not strange and futile but that is new and useful. Every invention comes from a simple existence that is just being developed through human efforts. And a ballpoint pen is just one of the simple things that have existed, being developed, and has become an improvised writing machine. And as history divulges its trace, it’s simple figure and parts conceal a complex task of mechanism to which we may say that invention itself exists beyond description.
A ballpoint pen is a writing instrument with a tip that is continuously supplied with ink. The pen consists of a metal ball seated in a socket below an ink reservoir, (The Incredible Ball Point). When applied to a writing surface, the ball rotates and is bathed with just enough ink for smooth writing.
Now the goal of this pen is to create a device that can distribute a fast-drying thick ink, without having the ink dry out of the pen itself. So the key is the ball. The ball acts as a continuous cap that keeps the ink from drying and it is the rolling mechanism for the ink into the paper. A hard task. First to keep the ink dry, second to get the ink out. The ball is typically made of brass, because it is not only strong but also has a pleasing appearance […..] and does not rust. That is why it is made of solid to compensate with gas and liquid when used and unused, (www.novelguide.com). The ball seems the most crucial element for the mechanism, yet, its other partner that shares responsibility is the ink. We might say that the ink can actually be put into whatever pen we may prefer to choose. However, it plays much subtle when it is perfectly blended and made slightly thick to dry in the pen reservoir and be free of particles. The ink is made different compared to a fountain pen because the ballpoint pen ink finds its place to keep the balance of viscosity. That is why if a fountain pen ink is used in a ballpoint pen. It would easily leak out or clog. The ink has to live in a house where it is apt to survive.
Lastly, the socket. Since the tip of pen is hard to be visualized, we might say that the socket is not that more important. Unknowingly, its function is the most important for a ballpoint pen that helps the ink and the metal ball in maneuvering. According to the dictionary, it is an opening in any fitting that matches the outside diameter of a pipe or tube. It is where the ball is fitted allowing it to roll around freely, (encyclopedia). A socket for holding the writing ball-pint pen comprises a tubular member having a tip potion formed to hold a writing ball, a rod inserted into the tubular member to receive the ball in a seat provided at the forward end [….]. Ink passages are formed between the tubular member and the rod and grooved ink outlets circumferentially provided in the inner walls of the tip portion of the tubular member to communicate with ink passages and the outside of the socket. [….] aqueous ink filled in the ink passages is supplied through the ink outlets to the portion of the ball which is exposed to the outside of the socket, (freepatent.online.com).
Some ballpoint pens are not completely dependent on gravity work. In some designs, there is a constant pressure applied behind the column of ink, enabling the writer to use the pen even if the writing tip is elevated. It requires a certain amount of pressure to be applied in order for it work. Hence, it lacks the free-flowing quality found in some other pen designs, (www.ehow.com). Its ink may rely on the gravity as well, but stored a lot more in the cartridge.
It is simple enough in theory but in practice, the designing of a ballpoint pen is tough. The metal ball, the ink and the socket are the simple characters with bigger roles behind this unimaginable work. Doing the hard stuff.