The 50s? That happened to me in the 80s and 90s when I'd use a ball point pen in school.I remember the early ballpoint pens of the 1950s. The ink they used was oil based and the seal wasn't perfect. Before you used the pen, you had to wipe off the little oil glob which formed on the end. A little piece of scrap paper worked for that purpose, or you could wipe it on your trousers. If you didn't, the glob was deposited on the paper and smeared badly.