Wednesday Nostalgia

Know what this is? U.S. census takers, as well as Lewis & Clark in their journals, used one of these.

This is a replica of a quill pen, a writing instrument from long ago. I spotted these in the gift shop of the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls, Montana. Maybe they were “true” and maybe just “for tourists,” but they looked very difficult to use ….. and what a broad line they would make.

quill pen is a writing implement made from a moulted flight feather (preferably a primary wing-feather) of a large bird. Quills were used for writing with ink before the invention of the dip pen, the metal-nibbed pen, the fountain pen, and, eventually, the ballpoint pen. The hand-cut goose quill is rarely used as a calligraphy tool, because many papers are now derived from wood pulpand wear down the quill very quickly. However, it is still the tool of choice for a few scribes who noted that quills provide an unmatched sharp stroke as well as greater flexibility than a steel pen.  (Thank you, Wikipedia.)


2 comments on “Wednesday Nostalgia

  1. Lynn says:

    Very interesting information.
    Thank you Donna.
    I got the one of these at the gift shop there too. I gave it to my artist son.

  2. ARLENE ROWDEN says:

    We would make these when I was a kid, just for fun. They worked fine. Feathers can have a natural curve to the right or left. Those that curve to the right were supposedly more expensive because they would curve away from your face.

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