BIC Corporation is the country’s leading manufacturer of disposable ballpoint pens and cigarette lighters. It is also an industry leader in the production of disposable shavers. Producing inexpensive, quality products promoted through aggressive advertising campaigns, BIC has steadily increased its marketshare in the United States, maintaining 60 percent of the ballpoint pen market and 45 percent of the disposable shaver market in 1992. After moving into sporting goods with a leading brand of sailboards in the late 1980s, the company also strengthened its position in stationery goods by purchasing Wite-Out Products, Inc. in 1992.
The company was founded by Marcel Bich, who left his job as production manager for an ink company in 1945 to set up his own business outside of Paris, manufacturing parts for fountain pens and mechanical pencils. During this time ballpoint pens, although still very expensive, were becoming popular in Europe, and the first ballpoint pens were introduced in the United States, selling for $12.50 each at New York’s Gimbel’s Department Store.
First Bich expanded his business to include the manufacture of plastic barrels for ballpoint pen companies, and then, in 1949, he introduced his own line of ballpoint pens. Called BICs—using the phonetic spelling of Bich’s name—the pens were of a simple design, nonretractable with clear plastic barrels, and sold for around 19 cents each. While early ballpoint pens were known to clog and leak, Bich’s pens proved reliable and achieved immediate success in Europe with annual sales exceeding $5 million by 1955. Bich then turned his attention to marketing his products in the United States.Close Up of Vignette
Common Stock, specimen, late 1900’sPrinter: Security-Columbian / United States Bank Note Company Dimensions:
8” (h) x 12” (w)State: NY-New York Subject Matter: Famous Companies
| Consumer Products
| Specimen Pieces Vignette Topic(s): Male Subject
| Female Subject
| Globe Featured Condition:
No fold lines, punch hole cancels in signature areas and bodies. Very crisp.