Le Bic Cristal


85d1e705-d142-4049-b68e-a9509892d15e-e1553465079731.jpegThe summer program I work for in Paris had a daily newsletter with bad jokes, a skill-testing question about French culture, as well as the details of upcoming activities. I was generally able to ace the daily culture question, but was utterly stumped by one about the most frequently purchased French product. I guessed Chanel No. 5, but was greeted with a pitying head shake. No, the most popular French product was not an exemplar of le luxe français, but rather the humble Bic pen. I hadn’t even realized that the pen I had used so often was French!

AD7BFB7B-C1CA-4682-A780-A0D2480A071BThe ubiquitous disposable ball-point pen known as the Bic Cristal was invented in 1950 by Marcel Bich and Édouard Bouffard. The revolutionary design caught on and challenged the supremacy of the leaky fountain pen. Today, it continues to outsell all contenders, with over 100,000,000,000 (that’s 100 BILLION) sold, or one every 57 seconds since its inception. The simple, iconic design that lets the user see how much ink remains has been enshrined at the twin temples of modern art, the MoMA in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. World dominance through disposability. Amazing.

Pack of 10 Bic pens


About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
This entry was posted in History and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s