Today in 1945 the first ball -point pens hit the stores in America . The first patent had been taken out in 1888 , and the idea had been bouncing around in Hungary and Argentina and other places earlier . I came upon this little bit of trivia as I was tapping away on my laptop keyboard .
I was watching an old movie yesterday . Someone was typing a letter . I could see the carbon paper there . Carbon paper ? Yeah . That’s how copies were made . I used to use a mimeograph machine at school that used carbon to run copies .
When I started school , once upon a time ago , some of the desks in the classrooms still had a hole in the corner . You know , a hole in which was placed the jar of ink . The old fountain pens needed to suck up some ink . That beats dipping a quill into the ink , I suppose . Also , delinquents had the unique opportunity to dip the pony-tail of the girl in the desk ahead into the ink .
In high school we were required to use ballpoint pens at school but homework had to be done with a fountain pen . Thanks to those crafty Jesuits for that little bit of intrigue . If you were caught with a fountain pen at school it was bad news for you . The idea was to have homework done at home . The idea was to curtail guys ( boys’ school ! ) copying other guys’ homework right before class .
Anyway , we used those fountain pens with little plastic ink cartridges . On hot days these capsules might burst and leave an indelible circle of blue ink staining whatever forever and ever . Some guys wore white shirts with quarter-sized blue stains at the bottom of the pocket until the shirt material finally wore out years later .
In fourth grade , now that I’m thinking of ink , I suddenly remember a time when the teacher left the room for a few minutes and the class spontaneously erupted in an energetic ink fight , hoards of hooligans flicking fountain pen ink at one another . When you flicked the fountain pen , a squirt of ink would spray whomever or whatever happened to be within a few feet of you . I had mine out ready for action , but I couldn’t get the little improvised weapon to work . No ink came out .
And then soon the teacher returned . The whole place was covered with ink splatter . The teacher chewed us all out , of course , and then asked us to be honest . We were told to stand up if we had participated in the melee . Reluctantly , a couple of miscreants stood up , then a few more , then more . I hadn’t actually inked anyone , but only because my pen was out of ink , I guess , or maybe I just didn’t have the proper technique , but I had participated in the action . So I stood up .
I forget what punishment we all got . I don’t remember that part , but I remember that we all had owned up to our short span of stupid behavior . I might have got away with sitting down since I hadn’t actually flung any ink . There were a couple of us who hadn’t been part of the action , though . Lori Powers was one , I think , and most likely another girl , but I can’t remember who it might have been. Both of them had more self- control and/or maturity than the rest of us .
Yeah . So students these days don’t have the option of ink fights during class . Too bad , in a way ; but good , of course , in another way .
The fountain pen incident could not have taken place had we all had ball points instead of fountain pens that fateful day . Wouldn’t have made such a good story , though . Although those early ball points would heat up and leak ink sometimes , too , they didn’t provide such a good temptation to stupid little children as the fountain pens did .
School kids today don’t have the opportunities that we had . No loose ink to flick from a Notebook/laptop/cell phone . Well , on second thought , they bully and harass one another via internet , so maybe things haven’t changed all that much . The technology improves , but human nature stays pretty much the same .