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The History of the Pen

The evolution of the pen from the Roman Stylus to the Ballpoint Pen.

Amanda Baschnagel

on 14 December 2012

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Transcript of The History of the Pen

The Evolution of
the Pen The evolution of the pen has been impacted by major historical shifts such as the the Fall of Rome, the Industrial Revolution, and post World War II. The Original Pens The Quill Pen
600 A.D. to 1800 A.D. During the fall of the Roman Empire, the reeds that were used in reed pens became difficult to obtain by the European scribes, and the quill pen took precedence. The original use of the quill pen was mass producing the bible. Therefore, the clerics of the church were the most prominent users of the quill pen. The Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks and Romans used a reed brush and wrote on papyrus or parchment. The Romans also used a stylus and wrote on tablets covered in wax. The tablets were expensive to make, so they were reused. Therefore, none of the writing was permanent. The Fall of Rome Reed pens were very stiff, and could not retain a sharp point. They could only make really bold movements, and were not useful for precision strokes. The feathers used for the quill pen, such as Swan and Goose feathers, were easily found in Europe. After the fall of the Roman Empire the quill pen endured as the primary writing utensil for 12 centuries. The quill pen remained popular because it was more flexible, less expensive, and had a longer lasting tip than any of its predecessors. Summary This created a strong relationship between the church and the written word. For example, when the architectural style of the church changed, the handwriting style changed as well. The design of the quill was slightly altered to accommodate the fashionable handwriting. Architecture In the Gothic cathedrals, the architecture was ornate, had high arches, and sharp points. The Renaissance style of architecture was simplified, and used rounded edges. The handwriting of these time periods reflected the architecture. Gothic http://fourriverscharter.org/projects/Inventions/pages/europe_gothiccathedrals.htm

http://www.kandjsupplies.com/text_fonts_handwriting/mirkwood_gothic.html Renaissance http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&sa=N&tbo=d&authuser=0&biw=1216&bih=566&tbm=isch&tbnid=4G3jHCLuWj96oM:&imgrefurl=http://www.italian-architecture.info/HIST.htm&docid=TDd233KyBqlP8M&imgurl=http://www.italian-architecture.info/IMAGES/VeneziaOspedale.jpg&w=800&h=531&ei=eZnKUNeRIuzOigLq5YDoBQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=155&vpy=126&dur=5004&hovh=183&hovw=276&tx=171&ty=101&sig=102547905808792389810&page=1&tbnh=134&tbnw=196&start=0&ndsp=21&ved=1t:429,r:8,s:0,i:115

http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&tbo=d&authuser=0&biw=1216&bih=566&tbm=isch&tbnid=rdlscfC7bepd-M:&imgrefurl=http://www.hobartsprinting.com/images/fonts/script/display/&docid=cz1wkyySZZhLpM&imgurl=http://www.hobartsprinting.com/images/fonts/script/display/renaissance.gif&w=682&h=325&ei=B5rKUKKlCumXigLfgYGACw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=867&vpy=308&dur=54115&hovh=155&hovw=325&tx=215&ty=88&sig=102547905808792389810&page=1&tbnh=101&tbnw=211&start=0&ndsp=23&ved=1t:429,r:15,s:0,i:133 Even though the quill pen did not change drastically between the Gothic period and the Renaissance, it still evolved because of a historical shift. This is another example of how the pen evolves in correspondence to cultural change. The quill pen was a significant improvement to its predecessors, but it still posed some problems. Every quill pen had to be made individually, and therefore the pen was only available to the rich. The ability to write was held by a privileged few, and this solidified the class barrier. The poor could not be as educated, because they could not afford the materials. The Industrial Revolution provided the environment for the pen to be massed produced, and become more accessible to the public. The Fountain Pen
1880-1940 The Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution created a pen that was self-functioning and mass produced. It improved literacy rates, and made writing available to the public. The History M. Bion made the first version of the fountain pen in 1702. Then, in 1809 the first patent for the pen was issued to Peregrin Williamson. John Scheffer received the British patent for a half quill and half metal pen in 1819. John Jacob Parker invented the first self-filling fountain pen in 1831. Finally, Lewis Waterman, who went to on to mass-produce the fountain pen, patented the perfected model in 1884. The original designs of the fountain pen were leaky. They did not function in a practical manner. Then, Lewis Waterman, an insurance broker, had an important contract ruined by a faulty pen. He worked on the design, and altered it to include an air hole in the nib and three grooves in the feed mechanism. This allowed for increased control of the ink flow. The most significant improvement of the fountain pen was the automatic dispenser. It did not rely on humans to control the flow of ink. The fountain pen becoming mechanized symbolizes the transition from manual labor to automated manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution Lewis Waterman holds the official patent for the fountain pen. It is patent number 293,545, and he received it in 1884. This was the first patent for a functional fountain pen. The design of this one put dip pens and quills to shame. This patent was never challenged, but eventually the inner mechanism was redesigned and patented five separate times. There were four competing companies involving the fountain pen: Waterman, Parker, Sheaffer, and Wall-Eversharp. One of the differentiating factors between the companies was the type of self-filling mechanism the pen used. There were five different designs, and each design had its own patent. There was the the button filler, lever filler, click filler, matchstick filler, and coin filler. The most successful out of all five was the Lever Filler, which dominated the market for 40 years. Walter Sheaffer owned the patent for this filling method, and in a desperate attempt to compete Waterman patented the Coin Filler. The fountain pen was the first writing utensil that could contain the ink it wrote with. Because the fountain pen held its own ink, it was transportable. The pen could be carried around without fear of the ink breaking. It was the first version of the pen that had all the amenities included. After the invention of the fountain pen, literacy rates have improved consistently. http://nces.ed.gov/naal/lit_history.asp Percentage of persons 14 years old and over who were illiterate (unable to read or write in any language), by race and nativity: 1870 to 1979 The fountain pen became popular in 1884 and the literacy rates have improved significantly since then. Public education has been a contributing factor as well, but the mass production of the pen helped make learning to read and write less expensive. The price of the fountain pen became too costly for the average American. The metals that the pens were made of were replaced by cheaper plastic. The Ballpoint Pen
1940-Present World War II During WWII fountain pens became too expensive, they were replaced by their cheaper, plastic counterparts. Ballpoint pens were used by pilots during WWII, because they did not rely on gravity to dispense the ink. The present day version of the ballpoint pen was invented in the 1940's by Josef and Georg Biro. Then, in 1953 Bich made a manufacturing process for the pen, which made the ballpoint pen affordable. History The ballpoint pen has become so cheap that it is disposable. The amount of plastic consumed by throwing away ballpoint pens is massive. It is approximated that Americans throw out 1.5 billion ballpoint pens every year. The ballpoint pen uses a rotating ball to gather ink as it turns, and then put it on the paper as it turns back. Biro's version was the only one that didn't rely on gravity to make the ink flow. This disposable attitude reflects the present day mindset. Americans want things available to them as quickly and cheaply as possible. The represent the ideal quantity over quality. The pen has adapted to fit the social climate, and has persevered by evolving with history. Bibliography

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Writing Gear: From Sharpened Stones to Quill Pens. http://quillcards.com/blog/index.php/articles/writing-gear-from-sharpened-stones-to-quill-pens/ (accessed December 12, 2012) The pen has had many forms since its conception. The most notable styles are the quill pen, the fountain pen, and the ballpoint pen. Each unique pen derives from a specific shift in history, such as the Fall of Rome, the Industrial Revolution, and post World War II. This correlation between the evolution of the pen and the evolution of society has allowed the pen to persevere throughout time, and still be applicable today. Thesis Statement
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