Why does your ballpoint pen lid have a hole in it? One of those mysterious questions that keeps all of us at the Office Supplies Blog awake at night. (We don’t get out much).
It turns out that there is a very important reason behind this design feature. If you are one of the many people who automatically puts the end of a pen in your mouth or, has an uncontrollable pen chewing habit, the hole in the lid could potentially save your life.
BIC introduced the hole in its ballpoint pen lids back in 1991. They explain on their website:
“In addition to help prevent the pen from leaking, all our BIC caps comply with international safety standards that attempt to minimize the risk of children accidentally inhaling pen caps. Some of these vented caps, like that used for the BIC Cristal, has a little hole in the top to comply with the existing safety standards.”
The hole in the lid allows for the passage of air in the event of a person accidentally swallowing it and blocking their windpipe. This is also the reason why lollipops have a hole in their sticks.
It is thought that this small feature has helped to prevent the deaths of over 100 children per year. Despite this safety feature sadly, deaths can still occur and so it pays to be cautious. In 2007 a 13 year old boy in County Durham died after falling off a chair and swallowing a pen lid as it lodged in his throat.
Are there any other great mysteries of the stationery world that you wonder about? Share your thoughts with us here at the Office Supplies Blog or on our Twitter page.