Since 1991, the best-selling ballpoint pen in the world has had a simple safety feature built into its plastic cap. The venerable Bic Crystal pen has a hole in the cap to allow air to continue flowing in the event that someone accidentally swallows it. The company says that “all our Bic caps comply with international safety standards that attempt to minimize the risk of children accidentally inhaling pen caps.” Unfortunately, the vent in the cap doesn’t always save lives. About 100 people in the United States choke to death on these caps every year, the company said.
Billions of Bic pens:
- Called the "Atomic pen" in France throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the Bic Cristal's revolutionary writing tip and ergonomic design helped the world transition from fountain pens to ballpoints.
- In 1959, creator Marcel Bich began selling the Bic in America for 29 cents, with the advertising slogan: “Writes first time, every time.”
- The Bic Cristal is the most popular pen in the world. The 100 billionth pen was sold in September 2005.