Pens – A Brief History

History of the PenImagine a current world without a pen or pencil or any writing instrument. No, we didn’t ask you stop breathing but it seems as difficult, doesn’t it? A piece of equipment that seems so simple wasn’t that simple always. It has evolved with humankind and the tale of its evolution is even more interesting.

It probably would have been a lazy afternoon around 4000 BC when a man scratched the surface of moist mud with a sharp object. Then, arrived the ages of Egyptians and Romans who developed pictures and scripts written with reed pens and metal scrapers. Later, Europeans, particularly Spanish started using Quill Pens that hold a fascination till now. It was in 1790s when pencil was developed. Pencil meant brush back then. Though they were developed in Australia and France independently, the breakthrough is considered when Nicholas Conte, a French chemist patented the process of making Pencils. And the process and the structure of pencils is still more or less the same – a cylindrical strip of wood with a slot for lead.

The century that followed saw the replacement of quill pens by pens made of metals like Steel, Rhodium and iridium. The first apposite fountain pen was invented in 1884 by a French insurance Salesman, Lewis Edson Waterman, whose last name is one of the biggest names in Pen world presently. With time, there have been a lot of modifications and changes in the fountain pen and its styling but the core remains the same.

The history of Ballpoint Pens traces back to the end of 19th century when the first patent was issued to John Loud who used the pen to mark leather. In 1916, similar device was invented and patented by Van Vechten Riesburg. However, both of the devices failed to make it to the commercial globe. That soared to the heights after the lapse of previous couple of ballpoint versions was the one invented by Josef and Georg Biro in 1943 during World War II which was later sold to British Government. Apart from being more rugged, ballpoints were loved because they were able to be taken on high altitudes. Gradually, ballpoints were made inexpensive and other mediums like soft tips and Rollerballs came into the scenario in the late 1960s.

When in talks about Ballpoint pens, one could not miss out Reynolds Pen named after its creator Milton Reynolds. The first ball bearing medium that wrote under water was a lure yet it couldn’t hold consumers’ attention for long. They chose the ones that were for lower price.

Currently, there are pens of various shape, size, style, quality, mechanism and price available in the market. You can buy pens in the shop near you or from across seven seas. While brands like Montblanc, Waterman, Carandache, Namiki, Sailor, Michel Perchin, Montegrappa, Lamy and many more are raising the standard of fine writing, there are various other companies who supply to fulfill basic writing needs. Hundreds of wholesalers and retailers deliver a variety of writing modes to thousands of consumers. For instance, a Maryland based Pen retail business, Pen Boutique has been continuously working to provide a better impression of Pen Companies, Brands and their offerings. They are striving to encourage the habit of writing among kids and youths; and at the same time, stocking up for the veteran pen aficionados. All in all, the history and the present of Pen and writing instruments serves as an evidence that we have come a long way in the skill of writing and there is still a long way to go.

Inks – A Brief History

Brief Ink History

Ink, A drug! Vladimir Nabokov said it right. And we have been consuming it endlessly. Three letters, Ink – Minute but captivating! The daily use of ink has caused its impact on our lives to go unnoticed. Nonetheless, the fact that it has left a mark on world history and present can barely be denied. Its ironical, the ink that has been used from recording ancient manuscripts to printing latest of writings, has no definitive history of its evolution. It starts from the age when people commenced using the ink to paint on the stones and walls of the cave.

A liquid or a paste consisting of pigments or dyes that colors any surface by the help of a writing instrument to create images and texts – that’s how Ink is defined. From simple to complex solutions, Ink serves many purposes.

Apart from color and use, the ink that we get today in the market has a very little in common with the ink that was once used by our ancestors. However the universal and ever prevailing love for inks and writing makes buying ink a conscientious part of our stationary shopping. There are countless retailers that provide you a wide assortment of inks. The one that we have browsed the most is the ink section of Pen Boutique, a Maryland based Pens, Ink and stationary store that offer everything from popular to vintage for both starters and collectors.

With time, various ancient cultures scattered all over independently used their very own recipes to formulate ink. Chinese developed water based ink and solid ink around 23rd century using plant dyes and animal glue. The Egyptians used soot, graphite and other carbon particles to create ink around 2500BC. The Chinese ink was also similar to India ink often referred to as masi which played a vital role in the compilation of not only Indian manuscripts but also Buddhist scripts during the 4th century BC. Masi was made from tar, burnt bones and pitch. Around the first century, Egyptians came ahead with papyrus plant scrolls that highlighted the art of writing and the use of inks.

Another popular ink which made it to the viable triumph was the recipe created out of mixing tannin, gallnuts with a thickener. The writings that made use of this recipe are brown in color now, but it was bluish black when it was actually put on paper. The duration from 5th century to 15th century witnessed the maximum use of carbon inks and iron gall inks that were invented in Medieval Europe. The writing platforms changed and so did the writing devices. The quill pens and the first fountain pens were created out of necessitate to make the proper and optimum use of the writing mediums that was evolving each day.

The breakthrough was when Johannes Gutenburg invented an oil based ink in the 15th century. Compared to the water based inks that were used from the earliest of times in China, the oil based ink was more suitable for printing. It quickly overshadowed the Greek and Roman Inks prevalent at that time. Some inks and dyes were invented accidentally but for good. Like in 1856, William Perkin, an English chemist discovered synthetic dyes while struggling to hit upon a cure for malaria.

Ink by ink, many new recipes were formulated, many were modified and many vanished. Secret inks, invisible inks that became perceptible under heat or chemicals held fascination whilst it added a new dimension to the ink world. In the 19th century, various artists collectively agreed upon the use of four colors CMYK used for printing. Ink, simple yet so complicated process; it’s now in every fountain pen, every ballpoint pen, and every packet in the market, in the books and even on human skin. Ink is everywhere.