Who: Laszlo Biro (Hungary)
Innovation: Ballpoint pen
What does it do?
It is a device to write with. There's an internal ink reservoir, and the ball at the point of the pen allows the ink to be dispersed as the ball rolls across the page.
What problem does it solve?
Biro was a newspaper editor, and he was frustrated by the amount of time he whittled away filling up fountain pens, cleaning up messes left by fountain pens, and the rips in pages torn by fountain pens. The ballpoint pen makes for a much less fraught office environment.
Stop. Have a look around you. Can you see a ballpoint pen lying around nearby? There's a high chance you've answered "yes"' to this question. They're a modern day necessity. I don't care for your fancy iPads and iPhones; give me a pen and a piece of paper and I'll be happy.
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