Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Illustrated Guide to Antique Writing Instruments

When we first learned curved writing at primary school in the 1950s being allowed to use a pen was considered something special. The first pens we used were pens with nibs dipped in inkwells recessed in our desks. The challenge was not to get blots on the page and blotting paper was used to help dry the ink. At secondary school we graduated to fountain pens and blue marks on the fingers holding the pen were common. Biros were not allowed as they would spoil our writing.

The Illustrated Guide to Antique Writing Instruments by Stuart Schneider & George Fischier provides a history of the fountain pen and pen manufacturers in the United States of America. It is primarily a book for collectors containing photographs of different types of fountain pens manufactured by a variety of companies until the 1940s. A brief history of each of the major pen manufacturing companies is also provided - Parker, Sharffer, Swan, Mont Blanc, Waterman to name a few from the list.

The history of the fountain pen provides background information on the early development of fountain pens. Although a Frenchman invented a fountain pen in 1702 it was not until the nineteenth century that experiments in fountain pen design increased with an American taking out a patent in 1809, John Scheffer taking out a British patent in 1819 and John Parker taking out a patent for a self filling fountain pen in 1831. Early fountain pens used an eye dropper method to fill the pen and leaking ink was common. In 1884 Lewis Waterman patented a fountain pen with an improved feed mechanism resulting in increased popularity of pens containing their own ink supply.

No comments: