Today in History: Oct. 29

Gimbels department store in Manhattan started to sell ballpoint pens on this date in 1945. Thus, today is sort-of the 71st birthday of the ballpoint pen.

Now, the first patent for a pen utilizing the ballpoint design was granted in 1888, and newer patents that both refined the ballpoint pen design and the ink formula were awarded to various inventors through the years.

In 1945, an American businessman, Milton Reynolds, saw a prototype of a Biro pen (a popular brand to this day) and thought it had potential. He came up with his own design, bought different ink than the Biro required, and went to market with it. Gimbels gave it a luxury-item price: $12.50 per pen, and the store sold thousands that first day 71 years ago, the day the ballpoint pen became an American reality.

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Duane Allman died 45 years ago today. He was 24. A listen in to a show from September 1971:

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“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.”—James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.

James Boswell was born on this date in 1740.

Fanny Brice was born in 1891 on this date. Bill Mauldin was born on this date in 1921. Carl Djerassi was born on this date in 1923. Zoot Sims was born on this date in 1925. Bob Ross was born on this date in 1942.

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Denny Laine is 72. Melba Moore is 71. Peter Green, founder of Fleetwood Mac, is 70 today. Richard Dreyfuss is 69. Kate Jackson is 68. Dan Castellaneta is 59. David Remnick is 58. Winona Ryder is 45. R.A. Dickey is 42.

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