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What is the History behind the Invention of Gel-Pen Ink?

What made the e Sakura gel pens a game-changer in the 1980s? 

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The Sakura Color Products Corporation, a Japanese company with a rich history in art supplies, redefined writing experience with their innovative gel-ink formula. In the 1980s, Sakura envisioned a pen that combined the smooth glide of a fountain pen with the convenience and mess-free nature of a ballpoint.

Unlike the oil-based ink found in ballpoints, gel pens use a water-based pigment gel. This thicker consistency allows for superior ink flow, reducing friction between the pen and paper resulting in a pleasurable writing experience and satisfying feel. However, the first commercially available gel pen was named “Pilot Hi-Tecpoint,”  launched in Japan in 1984.  It quickly gained popularity for its smooth writing and vibrant colors.. In 1988, Sakura launched its own gel pen, the “Gelly Roll,” which brought a new dimension to the market – a vast array of dazzling, eye-catching colors. This innovation, coupled with the pen’s smooth writing, helped propel gel pens into the mainstream, especially for artists and those seeking a more expressive writing tool.

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