The Bic Ballpoint ben is sold for the same price as in 1959

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Businessmen made significant fortunes by purchasing the rights to manufacture the ballpoint pen in their country, but one is especially noteworthy: Marcel Bich, the man who bought the patent rights in France. Bich didn’t just profit from the ballpoint; he won the race to make it cheap. When it first hit the market in 1946, a ballpoint pen sold for around $10, roughly equivalent to $100 today. Competition brought that price steadily down, but Bich’s design drove it into the ground. When the Bic Cristal hit American markets in 1959, the price was down to 19 cents a pen. Today the Cristal sells for about the same amount, despite inflation.

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