Selling approximately 57 pens per second, Bic holds the Guinness World Record as the world's best selling ballpoint pen. To date, Bic has sold more than 100 billion pens worldwide. Although the Bic pen was not the first ballpoint pen, its patented design and affordable cost revolutionized the ballpoint pen industry.
In 1950, with a start-up investment of 10,000 francs, French businessman, Baron Marcel Bich, launched Bic Cristal in an old shed north of Paris. Bic pens were economical and efficient. Made with clear plastic barrels, Bic pens did not retract, clog or leak like earlier ballpoint models. Bic pens sold for less than 20 cents each, while the first ballpoint pens sold for $12.50 each.
Because Bic pens were affordable, the company's success spread rapidly. By 1954, Bic entered the Italian market. Throughout the 1950s, Bic expanded to countries in western Europe, South America, Oceania, Asia and North America. Culminating that decade's expansion was the 1958 acquisition of the Waterman Pen company in the U.S. With the exception of Antarctica, by 1965, Bic had entered into markets on every continent in the world; however, Bic continued to expand. Eastern Europe was introduced to Bic in 1995, and as recently as 2009, Bic partnered with Cello Pens in India and opened a subsidiary in Hungary.
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