What an eventful year! We’e really into modern times now (as far as I’m concerned, at any rate). I remember, when I saw the Kon-Tiki movie and read the book, thinking that I would have given ten years of my life to have been on that voyage (I am more cautious with my life nowadays, and drive 50 km to Tel Aviv with trepidation; though indeed, I suspect the drive’s probably more dangerous ;-) .
The reason the name “Biro” is hardly known in the US is perhaps because of the fact that Biro’s invention was pirated by an American entrepreneur, who made and sold ball-point pens in the US under a different name. In the UK in 1948, a genuine “Biro” pen-and-propelling-pencil set (in velvet-lined gift box) cost 3 pounds - a week’s wages for an unskilled worker (I received one as a birthday gift from a well-heeled uncle). The advertising slogan was “It writes underwater!” to which some wag inevitably added “and nowhere else”.....
The origin of this word came as a complete surprise to me - I suppose because it sounds so much like rancho, poncho, etc. Thanks, Dave - your choice of words never fails to entertain and edify!