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How Popular Are Bic Pens?

Bic's line of disposable ballpoint pens has been so popular that in 2005 the company reported that its sales had topped the 100 billion mark. This means that Bic has sold 57 pens every second since the throw-away ballpoint was first introduced in Europe in 1950. Bic reckons that if you lined up all of the pens it has sold from end-to-end, they would reach from the Earth to the Moon approximately 40 times.

Bic's success with disposable products:

  • When the classic Bic Cristal was introduced to American consumers in 1959, the pen sold for 19 cents. The product's slogan was: "Writes first time, every time."
  • The company's founder, Baron Marcel Bich, bought a small factory outside Paris after World War II and had planned to manufacture fountain pens. Instead, Bich invented a pen that delivered ink with a rolling ball.
  • In 1973, the company also struck gold with a disposable lighter that provided 3,000 lights before wearing out, but Bic disposable underwear and a brand of Bic perfume were failures.
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