It all began with a unique design in post WWII France. A man named Marcel Bich had spent years working as an ink maker for fountain pens but when he saw an early ballpoint pen during the war, his interest was piqued. Unfortunately the pen alternated between leaking and clogging randomly while writing- Marcel knew there had to be a better way.
So he invested in new manufacturing equipment from Switzerland that could shape a metal ball down to an incredible .01mm tolerance. With this innovation he was able to make ballpoints that fit precisely in a pen tip so that ink could flow out but not without the user intending to write(Phaidon Design Classics 2006). To this day, the Bic design center in Paris continues innovating on this concept, experimenting with new materials and processes to increase efficiency and precision. In an age of outsourcing, Bics plants remain in France and employee over 10,000 people- a major boon to economic and social development in the country.