What Is the History of the Pen?
When the ancient Egyptians wrote on their papyrus rolls, they used a sharpened reed dipped in dye. After paper was introduced, people found that sharpened goose feathers, or quills, made good pens. The tip was split so that the ink would flow down the channel to the paper.
Quill pens lasted for only a week before it was necessary to replace them. There were other disadvantages associated with their use, including a lengthy preparation time. The early European writing parchments made from animal skins, required much scraping and cleaning.
A lead and a ruler made margins. To sharpen the quill, the writer needed a special knife (origins of the term “pen-knife”.) Beneath the writer’s high-top desk was a coal stove, used to dry the ink as fast as possible. Metal pens were invented in the 1700s. As with the quill, the pen point was dipped in ink for writing.
When writers had both better inks and paper, and handwriting had developed into both an art form and an everyday occurrence, man’s inventive nature once again turned to improving the writing instrument, leading to the development of the modern fountain pen.
Fountain pens – pens that hold their own ink supply – date back to the 1800s. In this century, ballpoint pens and markers – pens with tips of synthetic fibers – have become popular.