Mariana Bíró and Sándor Rácz

Hungarian-Argentine Inventor Remembered

László Bíró was born 120 years ago

June 18, 2019

The world’s probably most commonly used tool is the ballpoint pen. Its commercially successful version was invented by a Hungarian, László Bíró, who was born 120 years ago in Budapest.

He patented the first modern ballpoint pen in Paris in 1938. Five years later, he fled the Nazis with his brother, moving to Argentina in 1943. As he had some 300 inventions altogether, his memory is cherished in both Hungary and Argentina. The Argentine Ambassador to Hungary, Maximiliano Gregorio-Cernadas and the Vice President of the Hungarian Electric Vehicle Industry Association, Sándor Rácz, who is an avid collector of László Bíró memorabilia, established the László Bíró Prize in 2016. The 2019 recipient of the award is the Argentine tenor José Cura for his musical activities in Hungary.

The inventor’s daughter, Mariana Bíró was in Budapest this June. She told a press briefing at the Argentine Ambassador’s residence that the foundation had acquired a collection of 70 window-shaped glass cabinets full of different types of ballpoint pens from around the world from a German collector. In the name of the foundation she chairs in honor of her father, she announced that 20 of these cabinets were brought to Hungary: seven given to the Argentine Embassy in Budapest, seven to the Municipality of Budapest and six donated to the collection of Sándor Rácz. In June, László Bíró memorabilia from the collection of Sándor Rácz are exhibited in the Hungarian capital for two weeks.


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