OT Nostalgic history of the pen (was Re: Phoneme winnowing continues
|From:||Roger Mills <romilly@...>|
|Date:||Friday, June 6, 2003, 21:27|
John Cowan wrote:
> Henrik Theiling scripsit:
> > 'Fountain pen' sounds dangerous for clothes.
The many inferior ones were......
>>What is it? And what's
> > it's operative range? :-)
Did you mean, how long did the ink supply last? Not very long. It always
seemed to run out just when you needed it......and refilling them was a
> Only a few mm. It was the main writing technology between the abandonment
> of the quill and the prevalence of the ballpoint, the one with the metal
> nib (writing portion) with the split in it.
>Oh dear, you've made me dip the madeleine in my tea.....
In grade school (mid 40s) Penmanship was the most hated class. Fortunately
it only came round about once a week, since the teacher had to go to Supply,
get a huge flagon of ink, carefully fill all our little inkwells (and
carefully empty them afterwards), then guide us through 45 mins. of
push-pulls and loops with our "ink pens" that weren't much of an improvement
over the quill. Scritch-scratch. Much tearing of cheap paper. Blotches.
Splatters. Fountain pens were Forbidden! (too expensive for most anyway).
Around the end of WW2, the ball-point appeared in the US (invented by a
Hungarian IIRC)-- the first were made by a Mr. Reynolds and cost $5 (= a lot
in today's money; a good Parker 5l cost the same). I sent away for one
(father was horrified at such a waste of money)-- it looked like a small
rocket ship and caused a major sensation with classmates. I think the ink
supply lasted about 3 months, much of it used up in blotches and splatters
or absorbed by shirt-pockets.
(I've never heard "biro" either-- sounds like a trade name. For a while we
distinguished "Bics", but that's generally a cheap cigarette lighter