Bich didn’t just profit from the ballpoint; he won the race to make it cheap. When it first hit the market in 1946, a ballpoint pen sold for around $10, roughly equivalent to $100 today. Competition brought that price steadily down, but Bich’s design drove it into the ground. When the Bic Cristal hit American markets in 1959, the price was down to 19 cents a pen. Today the Cristal sells for about the same amount, despite inflation.
In what some might regard as a swipe at certain high-priced fighter jets, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, today announced a new program to develop distributed drones that can be recovered in the air via a C-130 transport plane, and then prepped for re-use 24 hours later. They’re calling them Gremlins.
The pair purchased the domain around midnight, central time, Wednesday morning, and had the site online by about 3:30 AM. Shortly after noon Eastern time, 1,600 people were actively viewing the site, according to one of its creators, and about 12,000 unique visitors had visited the site during the span of an hour earlier that day.