In this electronic age of voice mail, e-mail and cell phones, there is still no substitute for pen and paper. Even as you browse the Web, you probably have a pen within easy reach to jot down notes, scribble phone numbers, or even to doodle! Modern ballpoint pens are so inexpensive that we don't even think about them anymore -- you might have a cup on your desk that contains a dozen or so different pens that have wandered in from who knows where!

Have you ever held a ballpoint pen and wondered how it works? Why doesn't all the ink come flowing out? In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we will discuss the history and technology behind these popular writing instruments so that you can understand them completely!

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