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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 messy procedure.
> > 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 nowadays.)


Dirk Elzinga <dirk_elzinga@...>
Tim May <butsuri@...>
Joe <joe@...>
John Cowan <jcowan@...>